Anyone who attended Three Links’ 35th Anniversary celebration in June knows that Rickey Au-Yeung is no ordinary cook. The spread of pastries he created for the party was nothing short of spectacular.
Rickey’s culinary finesse is the result of decades of dedication. He got his first cooking job at the age of 12, at the Peninsula Hotel in Hong Kong, which was rated the fourth best hotel in the world at the time.
He learned the ins and outs of the culinary arts and then moved to Regina, Saskatchewan to complete grade 11 and 12. His passion was math, but he saw a better future for himself in becoming an entrepreneur. “My options were to own a laundry, a grocery store, or a restaurant, ” says Rickey. “Since I had experience cooking, I choose the restaurant business.” He opened a restaurant called the Windsor Castle Restaurant.
After selling his restaurant, Rickey moved between Saskatchewan, Alberta, and British Columbia, owning businesses and cooking for seniors’ homes and buffets. But his real job was winning medals as a top-notch chef. He competed in national and international cooking contests, winning 21 gold medals and 15 grand gold medals. In the early 80s, he was part of a group that founded the Regina District Chef’s Association. He got his Red Seal papers while apprenticing for a chef who had once run the restaurant at the Queen’s Hotel in New York before fleeing to Saskatchewan to save his son from military conscription.
What brought Rickey from cooking fame to Three Links Care Centre? He moved to Vancouver to care for his aging mother and be close to his two grandchildren. He still loves the art of cooking fine food, but he also appreciates the slower pace that allows him more time for his family. And he says that cooking for seniors is close to his heart. “Everyone should be able to eat good food,” says Rickey. “I like it here because I respect people and they respect me.”