It’s been a busy year for 2018 Masterchef alumnus Brendan Pang. Leaving his career in social work behind, he’s established himself as Perth’s celebrity dumpling king and cooked at events all over the country. It’s now time for his first commercial venture proper: Fremantle dumpling kitchen Bumplings. Pang has demonstrated a good head for business, being careful not to embrace every opportunity and endorsement unlike some others in his position. On top of that, he’s a genuinely nice guy inspired by family.
“I come from a large Mauritian family with a lot of inspirational cooks,” he says. “My fondest childhood memory was learning how to make wontons and noodles from scratch with my grandmother. Growing up I became obsessed with traditional Chinese dumplings.”
Bumplings is a made-up name, intended to impart a sense of fun. While Chinese-style dumplings are the influence, the new venture is all about Pang’s take on the traditional favourite. He’s still working on the menu, which will be dumplings-only to start with.
“I’m going to go with four different fillings and a few different sauces,” he says. “Then I’ll have specials like my signature pork wontons, little things like that. Coming in to winter I’ll be sure to make a wonton soup.”
Bumplings is inside the soon-to-open Sunshine Harvester Works, a new retail and hospitality incubator next door to The Mantle (home to Don Tapa and Short Order Burger Co). Other tenants include the Gascoyne Food Council, which will be selling fresh produce shipped directly from farmers.
Pang will be cooking from an “Airstream kitchen”, a popular way of repurposing the shiny American caravan of the same name. He’ll be sharing the kitchen on a two-weeks-on, two-weeks-off basis with satay and Malaysian cuisine newcomer Ray’s Satays, giving him time to work on other projects. If he didn’t have enough to do, next on Pang’s agenda are a collaboration dinner with Jamie’s Italian and co-headline cheffing at Broome’s Shinju Matsuri long-table dinner.
Bumplings and The Sunshine Harvester Works will open in June at 2/1 James Street, Fremantle.