Food events

{Event} Hands on dim sum workshop with Chef Susur Lee at Luckee

328 Wellington St. W, Toronto ON
When I visited:
July 23rd, 2014

I was ecstatic when I got the invitation to be among top Toronto food bloggers for an intimate event at Luckee where Chef Susur Lee taught us how to make dim sum. Having the opportunity to meet Chef Lee was already an honour, having a lesson from a culinary master was once of a lifetime opportunity. I am still in awe that it happened!


I’m a huge fan of Chef Susur Lee! I have seen Chef Lee’s documentary on the Food Network, watched him battle Bobby Flay on Iron Chef America as well as countless TV appearances. Food and Wine magazine praised the world renowned Chef as one of the “Ten Chefs of the Millennium” in 2000. Also, having eaten at Luckee (@LuckeeTO) (review here), I know that his passion and creativity is evident in every dish served at this restaurant.  They have a new summer menu and I highly recommend that you check it out.

More recently for my birthday present, I was given a book called “My last Supper: The next course” where Chef Lee mentioned that Hong Kong style wonton noodles are what he would like his last meal to be. My last meal would probably be dim sum!

Chef Lee’s son Kai Bent-Lee, who is the owner of Bent Restaurant in Toronto and also responsible for the wine and cocktail program at Luckee was at the event. He was the mixologist teaching us how to make Luckee’s ‘Ricky Rose Sangria’.

At the event, talkative Chef Lee was charming and friendly and was genuinely interested in getting to know more about us and social media, which I can imagine is a new beast to him. Chef Lee mentioned that my blog name would make a great restaurant name…and to think about it, I couldn’t agree more.

To start, we sampled many delicious dishes that were on the Luckee menu with Chef Lee explaining his inspirations and unique features of each dish. After the meal, we went into the kitchen for the workshop and got to sample our creations.

The dim sum dishes we sampled included the hargow (shrimp dumplings), spring rolls and chicken cheung fun (chicken rice roll). The beautiful orange wrapper on the hargow was derived from the carrots, as Chef Lee does not use dyes in his foods. The ‘chicken cheung fun’ was unique and had chicken, tofu, ginger, green onion and soy sauce.

The vegan cold noodle dish was spectacular with a spicy soy-mushroom vinaigrette and various types of mushrooms including enoki and shitake. The noodle dish was inspired by Chef Lee’s travels to China’s Yunan province where they cultivate many types of mushrooms.

The dim sum workshop:

Our appetites were worked up after sampling the dim sim dishes and we were ready to get our hands dirty in the kitchen. We learned how to prepare, assemble and steam siu mai made of chicken and shrimp topped with scallops and black trufflesyes, black truffles. I enjoyed the delicious change from using pork.

From the lesson, here are industry tips from Chef Susur Lee on making siu mai:

  • Make sure the 4 corners of the wonton wrappers are cut. This is needed for even folding.
  • After packing the meat in the wrapper, put a knife in the middle and hold the siu mai upside down. This will help with the wrapping.
  • Pack the meat in! I did not do this with many of my dumplings and the meat came out of the wrapper when steamed.
  • My partner (@FatGirlFoodSquad) and I had 8 dumplings in our bamboo steamer. It took about 5-7 minutes to cook.

For dessert, we assembled the chocolate custard steamed sponge rolls, which is on the Luckee menu.

What I learned about making the sponge rolls is that the actual sponge part is hard to make and to perfect. If I were to make this again at home, I would make a thick crepe instead and fill it with a chocolate ganache or Nutella. Best bet is to come to the restaurant and enjoy it there.

The sangria workshop:

Kai Bent Lee made us Luckee’s ‘Ricky Rose Sangria’ made with 20 ingredients including pama liqueur and lychee cactus pear juice. I learned that it’s important to have fun experimenting with a combination of liqueurs, wine and fresh fruits in your sangria. Also, it is best to combine all the ingredients and refrigerate for at least 24 hours before serving for the flavours to mingle.

With summer still in full swing, it is best to leave it to the drink masters to serve the best cocktails. Right now at Chef Lee’s other restaurant “Lee”, between 5:30-7:30pm daily at the bar, they are serving $10 house cocktails and ½ price bar snacks.  I definitely need to pay a visit soon!

Thank you again to the Metropolitan Hotel, Chef Susur Lee and Kai Bent-Lee for the incredible experience. I look forward to enjoying the delicious dim sum at Luckee again soon.

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