Chef Battle: Alan Yuen

Portrait of Chef Alan Yuen
Jacobi Alvarez / for WBEZ
Portrait of Chef Alan Yuen
Jacobi Alvarez / for WBEZ

Chef Battle: Alan Yuen

Growing up working at his family’s restaurant, chef Alan Yuen learned how to be patient, work hard, and be a perfectionist. But he hated it.

“I did everything I could to get away from the kitchen,” he said. “And I did. I went into advertising.”

But when his father became ill, Yuen came back to Logan Square to run Friendship Chinese Restaurant. Returning after a break gave him a new perspective on his family’s establishment, he said.  

“[It’s the] same place but everything is different,” he said. “I see beauty in it. I see excitement, I see challenge, and I see fun.”

Yuen combines traditional Chinese and French cooking techniques, but eschews the “fusion” label as a term with “no substance.”  

“I’m just using one element from the Chinese, and then one element from the French, and incorporating it,” he explained. “I call it collective.”

Chef Alan Yuen will be competing in WBEZ's 10th Annual Chicago Chef Battle.