chef-name: Wong Brothers

It takes five Wongs to make it right at Trey Yuen, the “crystal jade green garden” just across Lake Pontchartrain from New Orleans. The first time the Wong brothers were taped for GREAT CHEFS, there was a single restaurant located at the northern end of the famed Causeway, the longest bridge in the world. Now there is a second restaurant, also on the north shore of the lake, in Hammond, Louisiana.

Trey Yuen nestles its rosewood-paneled rooms in a beautiful garden filled with waterfalls, pools of water with darting golden fish, and two giant porcelain dogs to guard the entrance. James Wong is the eldest brother and primary chef. He tells of the family’s journey from their native Hong Kong. He and brother Frank learned to cook as apprentices in Hong Kong, John, the fourth brother, says he worked as a dishwasher and busboy for 12 years, always wanting to cook. From Hong Kong to Vancouver to Amarillo to San Francisco, the brothers worked their way around North America. Finally, in 1971, Frank and John Wong opened a small restaurant – two woks, eleven tables – using all their savings. The Wongs would build it; the guests would come. In 1980, Frank, John, and James opened Trey Yuen. Brothers Tommy and Joe joined them.
“Now, we don’t rest, either. We travel, we eat, we learn more; there are no limits!” exclaims Frank.

A line of gas flame jets, hot woks, sizzling oil, and flashing cleavers marks the lively kitchens. Tossing ingredients into the woks, the Wongs turn out beautiful dishes scented with ginger and spices. Their cuisine has won honors over and over; locals name Trey Yuen “best Chinese restaurant” year after year. In 1999 the Wong brothers from Hong Kong cooked dinner for the President of the United States at the White House. When you are this talented, there really are no limits.