Sous Chef at Mandalay Bay Resort and Casino
The Art Institute of Las Vegas
The one thing I enjoy most about my field is that I get to create something out of nothing. Steven Leung , Sous Chef at Mandalay Bay Resort and Casino Associate of Science in Culinary Arts, 2015 , The Art Institute of Las Vegas
As the sous chef at Mandalay Bay Resort and Casino in Las Vegas, Nevada, Steven Leung is responsible for planning and directing food preparation in the kitchen. He ensures the quality and presentation of food, provides training to line cooks, divides labor between kitchen stations, controls inventory and food costs, and supervises staff and scheduling. “I make sure all stations are prepared to operate and ready to open for service.”
Steven says that he’s proud to have completed his education. “Half way through my degree, I thought of giving up and changing my degree [to one that would take less time to complete] because my long work hours were taking a lot of energy out of me. My instructors talked to me and encouraged me to keep going. I was so glad I kept going—it was worth it." Steven says that his hero is his dad, a man who escaped to Hong Kong as a refugee at the age of 13. “He didn't know what to do in the big city so he started working at a restaurant, 16 hours a day, as a boy that refills hot water into customers' tea pots. He worked his way up in the restaurant and learned how to cook and watched professionals demonstrating culinary skills that he had never seen before. Even today I still consider my dad's food to be the best.”
Steven, who in 2015 earned an Associate of Science in Culinary Arts from The Art Institute of Las Vegas, says that his education built upon the knowledge his father provided in the kitchen. “Culinary school was fun for me. I grew up cooking Chinese food and [now] I can implement Chinese technique into western food and implement western technique into Chinese food. I wouldn't be able to excel in my field without the education.” He admits that when he started school, his knowledge of culinary terms was limited. “[It] made me very knowledge hungry. The instructors in the school acted as a useful resource for me whenever I needed it. I feel like I picked the right school because the classes were small and the instructors engaged with the students.” He recommends that current students believe in themselves. "Never underestimate your ability. Just stay focused and make the right choices."
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