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Houston Chef Builds Steak Factories in China Print E-mail
by Tom McGregor    Mon, Sep 8, 2014, 08:44 PM

BEIJING:  Tony Yip, a Hong Konger, moved to the United States of America in 1990. He searched for his pot of gold in the U.S. as a chef and enjoyed some success working for his grandmother, who owned Dong Ting restaurant in Houston, one of the city's top fine dining restarants before it closed a few years ago.

Afterwards, Tony, who likes to call himself, 'Y-not,' headed to Las Vegas to work the Strip. He was involved with opening and operating a number of famous restaurants in the city, but then the financial crisis 0f 2008 struck and his bright future began to dim.

America, the land of dreams for Asian immigrants, had transformed into a nightmare and to make matters worse, Barack Obama, an anti-business politician, got elected to the White House. Accordingly, Mr. Y-Not decided it was time to return back to Asia and re-start business ventures in China.

In 2011, his brother Michael Yip, an interior designer and founder of MI2, was running the Steak Factory, which is located in the Central Business District of Beijing, and suggested that Tony take over operations, so that Michael could refocus his energies on more artistic endeavors.

"My brother has always been the artistic one in the family with big dreams and fantasies, but sometimes his ideas were not very realistic," Mr. Y-Not told the Dallas Blog. "So in the family busines partnership my job is to implement my brother's ideas. I'm the guy who asks what if? I'm the cautious one and we have a good balance between my cautiousness and my brother's audaciousness."

Mr. Y-Not noted that to his surprise that his artistic brother originated the unique business concept of the Steak Factory. "The strategy is systematic, our central kitchen is similar to an assembly line. We assign our cooks to one particular station where they are assigned just one particular cooking task. And when they complete their task they move the food order to the next station, just like an assembly line. This stream-lined process cuts costs and accelerates the cooking process for the convenience of our customers," said Mr. Y-Not.

He explained that he also cut costs by operating their own butcher shop in the backroom. Mr. Y-Not said, "Many steak restaurants order meat pre-cut by their deliverers, but that costs a lot more money. So we buy in bulk and our butcher slices and dices the meat."

Patrons glancing at the menu will notice that the restarant serves meals that are reasonably priced compared to other luxury Western restarants in Beijing. The Dallas Blog ordered the Kansas Prime Filet Mignon, a Mediterranean Seafood Salad with Balsamic Vinagretes, Spanish red wine, Sangre de Tauro, Texas Cowboy Soup and margarita.

The Dallas Blog gives a big thumbs up to the Texas Cowboy Soup and the margarita.

Mr. Y-Not believes that his role in China is to teach Chinese consumers how to enjoy fine dining in a proper manner. He noted that many Chinese don't comprehend the significance of eating a meal with the right wine.

"That's why our wine list shows which meals go best with each wine. Sadly, some Chinese customers still don't realize that it's important to drink red wine, not white wine, when eating a delicious steak," said Mr. Y-Not.

Mr. Y-Not also stand oppossed to many restaurants in China that serve meals with fake ingredients. He pointed out with much disgust that Pizza Hut appears to be the worst offender in regards to Western restarant chains operating in China.

"I owe my strong moral ethics and thinking because I received 13 years of a Catholic education when I grew up in Hong Kong. I'm most proud of graduating from high school at Lasalle College in Hong Kong where we were taught how to conduct critical thinking. The great education I received from there has shaped me into the man that I am today. A man who doesn't take short cuts by using fake ingredients."

Meanwhile, he's married to a Russian woman, who would like to tell Dallas Blog readers that she is not and never has been a member of the Sen. John McCain (R.-Az.) foreign policy fan club.

To learn more about the Steak Factory, link here:

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