Dubai-based chef Kelvin Cheung, who grew up in the kitchen, often filled his pockets with mantou and crafted cookies in the bakery of his father's traditional Hong Kong style Cantonese restaurants in Toronto and Chicago. From assisting in the bakery as a toddler making almond cookies to washing dishes at 12, Kelvin consistently helped out, which fostered his passion for cooking. With Father's Day approaching, Kelvin, now a father himself, reminisces about his early kitchen experiences with his father. "When I expressed a desire to cook, my father made me start with the most basic tasks like washing and prepping vegetables, and I had to work harder than anyone else to progress through each aspect of the restaurant," he tells City Times. "My first official job was as a dishwasher in one of my father’s restaurants. He made me prove myself before I could cook." These experiences instilled in Kelvin a profound respect for every role within a restaurant and the hard work required to run a successful operation. He adds, "Seeing my father's dedication and passion firsthand fueled my own love for cooking and commitment to culinary arts." While always loving food, it wasn't until he could challenge his father's head chefs in his restaurants that he realized his true passion for cooking and improving dishes for guests.

Kelvin describes his culinary style as "third culture cooking," influenced by his Chinese heritage, North American upbringing, and French training. This blend creates unique and innovative dishes reflecting his journey and identity, emphasizing diversity and harmony in today's world. His experiences cooking in various kitchens around the world, including Mumbai and Dubai, have enriched his culinary style, teaching him the importance of versatility and openness to new ideas. Kelvin emphasizes using fresh, local ingredients from farms, enhancing his dishes with the best flavors and nutritional value while supporting sustainable practices. As a father, he has deepened his commitment to sustainability, prioritizing more sustainable practices and setting an example for his team and his child about the importance of responsible stewardship. He involves his son Bodhi in the kitchen, hoping to teach him patience, creativity, and respect for nature's bounty. Balancing the demands of being a chef and a father is challenging, but Kelvin is committed to finding a sustainable way to manage both his professional and personal responsibilities.