Tuesday, 27 December 2011

Cooking up a Storm

Chief Executive Donald Tsang may have have a food fight with his ex-chef
Donald Tsang's time as Chief Executive of Hong Kong will be up just over six months from now and already someone's grinding his axe.

Yu Yinping used to work as a chef for Tsang when he was Financial Secretary a decade ago and now plans to publish a book detailing his grudges against the senior civil servant as well as recipes.

The Shanghai-born chef has already written the manuscript and says many publishers are interested in it. Yu is now teaching at a cooking school in Central.

He started working at the financial secretary's official residence on Wong Chuk Hang in December 1999 for HK$15,000 ($1,929) a month.

However he claimed he had to work very long hours.

"On one occasion, I prepared lunch for 22 guests and dinner for 24 people on the same day," Yu said. "At one time Mrs Anson Chan Fang On-sang [former Chief Secretary] was a frequent guest to Mr Tsang's residence... Mrs Chan really liked Shanghainese dishes and Mr Tsang loved expensive seafood such as lobster, shark fin and abalone," he said.

The chef made headlines 10 years ago when he demanded overtime pay from Tsang. In June 2001, the Labour Tribunal ruled Yu was entitled to HK$40,250 in overtime pay. For 10 months Yu worked for Tsang from 6:40am to 7:30pm six days a week. His contract was terminated early in October 2000.

Afterwards Yu went back to the mainland and said he had his own talk show. Tsang later sued Eastweek for publishing libellous remarks by Yu in November 2001 and the weekly magazine had to publish a full-page apology and pay HK$120,000 in damages.

When asked about Yu's latest plans, the Chief Executive's office refused to comment saying it was a personal matter between the chef and Tsang.

Meanwhile Yu says he will not work for any senior government official again after his "unpleasant experience" with Tsang a decade ago.

"Even if Mr Leung Chun-ying or Mr Henry Tang Ying-yen invite me to become their chef in the future and pay me a HK$1 million salary, I would not take the offer," he said. "But I don't mind cooking for them for special occasions if they are sincere in inviting me."

Yu sounds like quite the character, keen on dishing up dirt on Tsang on a matter that has already been resolved.

Some people are just keen to get any kind of attention at other people's expense.

But who knows? The claims might be too good to pass up. And Tsang's preference for shark fin is a good start.

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