up in a large Mauritian family, Brendan Pang developed a
passion for cooking while watching his grandma make wontons from
scratch. From then onwards he spent all of his time in the kitchen
making noodles and pickling vegetables. Since appearing as a
contestant on MasterChef Australia 2018, 26-year-old Brendan has
tackled Perth’s culinary scene with determination (and no small
measure of success).
Pang’s restaurant, Bumplings, is a dumpling kitchen located
inside a repurposed Airstream at The Sunshine Harvester Works in
Fremantle. As well as using fresh, local produce, Brendan maintains
that delicious food is all the sweeter when shared with those
around you. Beyond the bright lights of Australian television and
the sparkling success of his first business venture, the chef
shares his insider tips on the best places to wind down and dine
well in the Western Australian capital.
What inspired you to become a chef?
I’ve always had an enormous appetite, so you could say my love
for food began at a very early age, plus I’ve been cooking for as
long as I can remember. During the school holidays, my grandma
would spend days teaching me how to cook. When I went back home, I
would insist on preparing my own breakfast and helping my mum bake.
Both of these women inspired me to pursue a career in food. There
have also been multiple moments when I realised I wanted to pair
cooking with business. Food has always been central to my family,
so when I helped my mum start her own cake business and my uncle
open his café, I knew I wanted to do something similar.
What made you want to apply to MasterChef? Tell us about your
experience on the show.
When the opportunity to apply for MasterChef arose, my best
friend suggested I enter and I never looked back. It was a
stressful experience to say the least, but I enjoyed every minute
and learned so much from all the talented chefs I met. It helped me
to develop my own cooking style, which I’d describe as honest, in
that I cook food I love to eat while using fresh local produce
Why did you choose to base yourself in Perth?
Many people have asked if I would ever base myself elsewhere in
Australia, but Perth will always be home to me. I am a very
family-oriented person, so basing myself close to those I love
works in my favour. It’s funny – each time I travel around the
world and return to Perth, I appreciate it a lot more. The city is
calm, beautiful and has incredible food and produce. I think if I
ever left, it would have to be for a once-in-a-lifetime
opportunity, and for a very short while too.
What’s it like starting a new business in Perth?
Starting a business is terrifying; there are so many challenges.
It’s one thing to be well-versed in food, but there is so much more
to it, such as finding top-notch suppliers, exercising portion
control, hiring staff, organising payroll – the list continues.
Luckily, having spent the majority of my life in Perth, I’ve made
some valuable connections which have helped me a lot in business –
without them, Bumplings wouldn’t exist.
Aside from Bumplings, what makes Perth such a great culinary
I may be a little biased, however I think Perth (and Western
Australia generally) has some of the most incredible produce in the
world. With the varied climate, ingredients can grow in the state
all year round. It also has some of the freshest seafood available.
In terms of dining, talented up-and-coming chefs drawing
inspiration from diverse cultures make our city a great culinary
Brendan’s Guide to Perth
EAT: Long Chim, Bread in Common, Young George, George Street
Quarters and Yagan Square Market
Hall. For breakfast, you can’t miss the cinnamon buns from
North Street Store, and for lunch Run Amuk‘s incredible hotdogs. In the evening, try
Good Fortune Roast Duck
House or Authentic Bites Dumpling House for quick and tasty
dumplings (arrive early to avoid the queue). Uncle Billy’s is a go-to for a late-night feast.
DO: Head to South Beach Sunset Market for
amazing vibes and cheap eats; drive or walk through Kings Park;
visit Elizabeth Quay; or walk anywhere along the coast. If it’s a
bit cloudy, grab a coffee and walk around the South Perth
foreshore. Every now and then, when I’m feeling a little run down,
I’ll go to Bodhi J spa for a
SHOP: Try the boutiques along Oxford Street in
Leederville. Alternatively, the Claremont Quarter shopping centre
is a good day out.
DRINK+DANCE: During the summer head to The
Print Hall rooftop Bob’s Bar for a drink, or
Henry Summer has a great
garden area. Both Strange Company and
Tiny’s serve delicious cocktails. Up for a
dance? Try The Aviary – the
trumpet-playing DJ is a must-see.