The culinary journey of Johnson Wong, the Penang-based recipient of Malaysia’s Michelin Guide Young Chef Award 2023

The culinary journey of Johnson Wong, the Penang-based recipient of Malaysia’s Michelin Guide Young Chef Award 2023

Penang, known for its rich cooking history, has seen a remarkable increase in its great kitchen scene over the past century. Johnson Wong, a fresh chef from Malaysia’s southern stone, Johor, is one of the pioneers in this cooking reformation.

His cafe, Gen, nestled in the center of Penang, has captured the attention of romantics and critics everywhere, earning him the exclusive Michelin Guide Young Chef Award in 2023.

Born in 1991, Wong’s cooking odyssey began far from the coasts of Penang. He began a culinary journey at the tender period of 17 and enrolled in Le Cordon Bleu Sydney. He laid the groundwork for his upcoming endeavors and continued to perfect his culinary knowledge at Michelin-starred restaurants in Sydney, Macau, and Paris.

Wong found himself drawn to the vivid cooking panorama of Penang when he returned to Malaysia and assumed the position of professional chef at Macalister Mansion. Shortly after, he felt the calling to launch his own purchase. It was a difficult business, Wong admitted, but he had a powerful reason to persist. He explained that” we felt like we needed a tiny restaurant to create the baking to our locals in Penang with different viewpoints.” Gen ( meaning “roots” in Mandarin ) was born on a sliver of a restored pre-war shophouse in Lebuh Presgrave in 2018 with an ambitious goal to use innovative ways to showcase the bounty of Malaysian ingredients.