Balancing the Grind with Dan Hong, Celebrity Chef

Celebrity Chef Dan Hong is the dumpling master and executive chef of Merivale venues Mr Wong, Ms Gs and ambassador for bibigo.

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Let’s start with your background! Can you share with us your career journey and what you’re currently up to?

I have been a professional chef for over 20years. I grew up in restaurants as my family had Vietnamese restaurants in the 90’s. I currently run multiple restaurants for Merivale, the main ones being Mr Wong, MuMu and Ms G’s.

We’d love to know what a typical day is like for you. Could you describe a recent workday?

A typical day consists of training in the morning, taking my three kids to school, having a few eggs for breakfast, going to work to do lunch service, usually getting my chef to cook me some lunch like protein and green veg, a few meetings here and there.  I may go home in the afternoon just before dinner to cook dinner for the family. I’m usually too tired to make a full-blown meal . So it’s usually a nice steak, maybe a whole chicken with some veg and rice or noodles. If I’m really lazy I like to cook dumplings for the kids. There’s a great product by bibigo called Mandu. They are Korean dumplings that I just chuck in the air fryer.

Can you define work-life balance for yourself and share with us your approach in maintaining it?

Well, I try to train every single day before work and even on the weekends.  It really sets me up to be energised for the whole day. During the week I try to eat healthier. Eating mostly protein and whole foods. I do love my wine so I usually pop bottles on the weekend and also go out to eat and check out other restaurants. This is when I splurge and eat whatever I want.

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Change is constant, and it’s essential for growth. Have you made any lifestyle changes in the past year to improve your work-life balance?

I’ve only introduced a high protein diet the last three months. I’ve realised how important it is to get my protein in to maintain muscle growth and strength. It also keeps me full for longer. I love eggs so I try to eat 3-4 eggs a day! It’s really helped with my body definition as well.

We’re always on the lookout for new resources! Can you recommend any books, podcasts, or newsletters that have helped you in your journey towards balance?

I follow Dr James DiNicolamtonio on Instagram. He’s changed my life and how I look at my health! He really helped with my latest diet to lose fat!

Before we wrap up, do you have any final words of wisdom or insights on work, life, or balance that you’d like to share with our readers?

Don’t restrict yourself out of any foods or anything that will make you unhappy. Love the 80/20 rule. Eat healthy and maintain your exercise 80% and the other 20% you can be a little indulgent! Balance is key. 

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About Author

Hey there! I'm Hao, the Editor-in-Chief at Balance the Grind. We’re on a mission to showcase healthy work-life balance through interesting stories from people all over the world, in different careers and lifestyles.