In a recent thread discussing change at the San Mateo branch of Joy Luck Place, a number of questions came up about Zen Peninsula's chef and weekdays vs. weekends as well. ZP's General Manager, Angie Ng, emailed me to clear up some of the issues.
". . . Your news is rather correct but incomplete. Let me give your more of the background.
My head dim sum chef is from Fook Yuen and he is known as Master Wai. He worked for Milpitas ABC and then Cupertino Joy Luck and Milpitas May Flowers before we open up last summer. He is actually one of the founders of Zen Peninsula. So all the Dim Sum chef left behind as head Dim Sum chef for other restaurants including the one just recently moved up to Joy Luck Place San Mateo as head Dim Sum chef were all his assistant Dim Sum chefs for one point in time. That is one reason everyone called him Master Wai or Wai Ci Fu in Chinese. Dont be surprised if you found similarity among the dishes because they are all kind of from the same Kung Fu College.
. . We copied the Hong Kong style one country two sets of rules concept for our Dim Sum serving. During weekdays, we keep the freshly made to your order Dim Sum concept (100 Dim Sum to choose from). On weekends when the wait is getting to an hour long wait, we do the old fashion Chinese style (having old lady circulating the floor). Unfortunately, that did not yield to the best level of serving Dim Sum. The spirit behind Dim Sum is fresh. The weekend circulating selling method definitely discounted the freshness of our Dim Sum. However, that is the only way I can satisfy the ever increase weekend crowd. I am still working towards a win-win situation to strike the balance between the two serving concepts.
. . We also copied the Outback Steak Houses Called Ahead seating policy for Dim Sum lunch on weekend (No Reservation). All the VIPs and usual customers all know to call and get a number from the waiting queue before hand so we can do a much better flow control and seat the customers faster. This usually can cut the wait time down to less than 30 minutes or so.
Please continue to give us constructive criticism so that we can improve upon."