Chef May Chow became an instant success when she opened her first restaurant, Little Bao, in Hong Kong in 2013. Now with two Little Bao locations, Chow draws on her American upbringing and her Chinese heritage, dishing up Chinese burgers – steamed bao with fillings like Szechuan fried chicken and tempura fish.

In 2016, she added to her empire with the opening of gastropub Second Draft and again in 2017 with neo-Cantonese diner Happy Paradise. She was awarded Asia’s Best Female Chef, she’s fed the likes of Anthony Bourdain and we thought there was no one better to chat to about the burgeoning Hong Kong food and wine scene.

Tell us about the Hong Kong food and wine scene? How have you seen it change in the last five years?

The food scene has been evolving exponentially. I think it’s a combination of social media, ease of travel, locals who have been educated abroad returning home to Hong Kong and awards like Asia’s 50 Best, Michelin and local media. I see amazing collaborations and connectivity between local Chinese and international chefs. Restaurants are now globally competitive so you really see the jump in creativity, authenticity and overall quality as guests’ expectations are high. The international chefs have also really made Hong Kong their home and I see local French or Italian restaurants easily rivalling the best in France and Italy.

Tell us about your cooking style?

My cooking style is constantly evolving but I can’t take credit for all the cooking. I feel like a curator. I have great chefs I work with and I have a vision for Chinese food and I study the culture, the cooking methods and monitor creative processes to create food.

What was it like to be awarded Asia’s Best Female Chef in 2017?

It definitely drew a lot of attention and it exposed me to another culinary world. I am thankful because I feel so connected to the international chef community and have also created more drive to do even more for not just women but for the local community as much as I can.

What’s next for you?

We continue to explore and showcase Chinese cuisine through my own perspective. We’ve been lucky to be finally recognised for our culinary efforts at Happy Paradise. We are excited for all the exciting projects ahead which involve exploring China and pushing the creativity level of Happy Paradise while sharing our Chinese culinary history and progression.

Where are your favourite places to eat in Hong Kong?

Xinrongji, The Chairman, Juxing Home, Belon, VEA (especially when chef Vicky Cheng cooks for me late at night).

Where are your favourite places to drink?

The Old Man – not bad that the number one bar in Asia is right across from my restaurant. My favourite is their clarified Bloody Mary with an oyster leaf. It’s so delicious.