The Story of Mr. Chen

Schadrac Junior Ondongo Bongo

Copyright 2020 by 
Schadrac Junior Ondongo Bongo

Photo by nikko osaka on Unsplash
                               Photo by nikko osaka on Unsplash

Of expatriate parents from China, Mr. Chen was born on December 14, 1955, in Dublin, the largest city and the national capital of the Republic of Ireland. Coming from a family of the upper middle class, Mr. Chen from an early age never liked luxury and all that goes with it. He said, when he is older he will dedicate himself body and soul to help the most needy.

Growing up, he developed a passion for cooking and opted to study in this direction. Once  his studies were finished, he wanted to realize his dream of helping the most needy.

From where he bought a food truck and put all the necessary equipment in it to allow him to do his job. He went from town to town to have people taste his culinary creations. And did it without profit by helping impoverished and by bringing them hope and consolation through his ready-cooked meals which were comparable to the big restaurant? Mr. Chen was an angel fallen from heaven? 

Like many people, Mister Chen had a person that he considered the best example of his profession: 
Alexandre Balthazar Grimod De La REYNIERE (1758-1838).
For Mister Chen, this man was an icon in the business; he personified loyalty and good business sense.

So Mr. Chen began his charitable work through his cuisine worthy of starred chefs. At his first experience, everything was not perfect and Mr. Chen often made things very bad because of the anxiety which took him. And because to take care of the poorest is a job which deserves a lot of attention and sacrifice as he said.

But with perseverance and by seeking to do better, Mr. Chen created a style of cuisine that was his own and that he had developed over the years.

Seeing that the work was too huge for one person, Mr. Chen opted to hire an assistant who would help him with certain tasks.

Applying for the post of assistant for Mr. Chen, Daniel was a young man passionate about cooking. But for lack of means, he had not been able to make great studies and looked at from afar his passion for cooking. And for him, this assistant position was an opportunity not to be missed.

Having acquired certain notions of cooking through the small dishes that his mother made for him, he opted for the recipe that his mother from India often made for him (Masala dosa) during the competition organized by Mr. Chen. This is how Daniel got the job of assistant.

Daniel and Mister Chen worked together and built a strong bond between them.

But their work did not always produce the desired effect, and
they were about to give up since not many people really paid attention to their cuisine given their origins.

But One day, Mister Chen went to his food truck on the side of the road leading to 
Franceville. As he usually did, he put on his apron, tied on a ribbon, and set a lemon on a table. This was his registered trademark and a daily ritual. The tastes and colors didnt matter: that was the philosophy of life of Mister Chen. 

After being installed, he said to Daniel do you think about the state of this town? Daniel replied: sir 
i have confidence in what we do and even if we are not welcomed here and people reject us, i will always keep hope because what we do is commendable and few people are able to do it.

Due to the rejection they had suffered in other cities, Mr. Chen doubted himself, but the words Daniel had told him had re-mobilized him. So, it was the moment for the artist to make himself known.

Explaining his concept of the dish to the first customer (homeless), he said to Daniel his assistant: Add pepper, garlic and onion, add tomato pur
e and whatever goes with it, and cook for a further 4-5 minutes. Add a splash of whiskey to the pan, scraping up any browned bits from the bottom of the pan with a wooden spoon to deglaze. - recipe, Grilled fillet of halibut and langoustine tails with smoked haddock risotto and shellfish froth. 

Attracted by the enticing smell that
spread, people came. And here is a particular customer. When he came, he asked Mister Chen for a wine flavored with spices and honey. 
Mister Chen said to his assistant: 
Pierce the barrel of our oldest wine, serve the best mead, the strongest ale, the richest 
Morat, the most sparkling cider, the most fragrant pigments on the table.

He cooked for the thousands of people on the side of the road. Seeing the enthusiasm of the customers for his little dishes, he went into the town to serve even more people. 

Because his dishes were delicious and exquisite, the people brought various food products so that Mister Chen prepares them for them. And his fame spread to the neighboring cities, people came from all walks of life to taste the delights of Mister Chen and took the same opportunity to invite Mister Chen to come into their town.

Being a man full of compassion, Mister Chen decided to make the people of 
Franceville his disciples in order to teach them the art of cooking and the secrets of gastronomy. After spending a while in Franceville, Mister Chen contemplated the result of his work, testing and tasting the dishes of his disciples, who had become his fellow students since they had excelled and followed in the footsteps of their master. 

Proud of the work accomplished, Mister Chen went away. Through his kitchen, he was able to bring together people from all walks of life and transmitted to them
the passion and the art of good cuisine.

After serving others throughout his life, Mr. Chen joined his ancestors in the place of eternal rest in 2011. He had dedicated his entire life to humanitarian action. For him, making a family in distress smile through his cooking was more than all the riches in the world. His life is a lesson for each one of us and a meditation for us who have stayed. Practicing the universal well-being of living for others.

Tribute to Chen 
Zhong 1955-2011.

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