Hugo Uys’ bio pic by Karl Simone
By Naveen Duwadi
Each month, Chef Hugo dives into the best of the ever-changing NYC food scene, offering up his top 5 restaurant discoveries. Going along for the ride, he’ll interview a noted South African celebrity, getting to know them over great food and delicious conversation. Want to eat and drink like a New Yorker? Keep your eyes on this page.
[The Guest] In Conversation with Farah Fortune
Industry change-maker and founder of the PR firm, African Star Communications, Farah Fortune is a champion of fellow female-led companies, using her tout, skill and gravitas to help her clients excel in their own right. Recently visiting New York City for business, Farah and Hugo—both spice lovers—sat down at one of the city’s top Chinese restaurants, Mission Chinese, to chat about work, fashion, food and everything in-between.
Aside from coming to New York City for the amazing fashion, food and culture, you recently received an award at the United Nations Headquarters in the city—congratulations! Can you tell us a little more about your honors?
That’s right! I came to New York City to accept an award from the United Nations in association with Trinity International University of Ambassadors for the work that I do within the female empowerment field. My mission is to engage with young girls and women to help them create better lives for themselves, empowering them to be financially self-sufficient.
Your company African Star Communications is one of the country’s top PR firms that’s made its mark by being a female-owned and run company. How have you seen this space change since you started the company?
I’ve seen the space change in many ways since I started 11 years ago. There are now far more female-owned companies popping up—not nearly enough, but definitely an improvement over the past few years. Seeing these female-led companies becoming more prominent, with women being hired into more roles, is so exciting for me. I love seeing women getting the exposure they deserve.
Do you have any advice for women (and men) trying to break into the media industry in today’s world of instant communication & social media?
We’re now going into the fourth Industrial Revolution–with social media becoming a huge part of our everyday life—both personal and professional. For newcomers looking for their next career move, there’s no better place to get that instant exposure than through digital avenues. From a media perspective, keeping all your digital options open is the best way to go.
What’s your go-to meal for a busy weeknight dinner?
One well-loved dish at our home that’s so easy to make is chicken curry. My daughter and I both love it and it’s always on our weeknight roster when things get busy.
Being a mom, it’s inevitable that you’ll have to deal with picky eaters–any favorites that you and your daughter both enjoy?
My daughter and I really, really love Mexican food, so we try to have tacos at least once a week. We’re always coming up with different variations of fillings for our crispy tacos. It’s a great way to spend time together—creating, cooking and eating as a family.
[The Top 5] Chef Hugo Uys’ Top Chinese Restaurants in NY
Chinese food has always been a part of the culinary culture of New York City. From the age-old ‘Americanized’ family-style venues of the past in the Upper West Side, to the authentic eateries in our own Chinatown, when it comes to Chinese cuisine, we have it all. Here’s Hugo’s list of the 5 best Chinese restaurants in the city this year.
Best Dish: Chongqing Chicken Wings with XXX Spices
#2: Chinese Tuxedo
Best Dish: Crispy Short Rib with Chinese Lettuce and Caramelized XO Sauce
#3: Lucky Lee’s
Best Dish: Baked Orange Cauliflower
Price: See restaurant
#4: Han Dynasty
Best Dish: Cumin Style Chicken
Best Dish: Spicy & Sour Lamb Dumplings
[The Recipe] Sweet and Savory Peanut Noodles
For all you peanut butter fans out there, here’s one of Hugo’s favorite sweet and savory dishes that’s an easy-to-make, yet elevated take on classic Chinese takeout noodles. He uses lentil-based pasta here to make the dish extra healthy and light. Coated with the velvety peanut sauce, these noodles are an irresistible (and better-for-you) anyday treat.
- 8 oz lentil pasta
- 1 lbs ground turkey
- 1 bushel asparagus, cut into ½ inch pieces
- 10 peppadew peppers, cut into quarters
- 1 medium sweet onion, diced
- 4 cloves of garlic, crushed
- Salt, to taste
- Pepper, to taste
- Peanut sauce (see recipe below)
Peanut sauce ingredients:
- ½ cup of natural, no sugar added, creamy peanut butter
- 2 tbsp low sodium soy sauce
- 2 tbsp fresh lime juice
- 1” cleaned fresh ginger
- ½ tsp monk fruit sweetener
- ¼ tsp crushed red pepper flakes
- 1 clove of garlic
Peanut sauce assembly:
- Mix all ingredients in a mixer and add water until it reaches a creamy consistency
- Bring water to a boil in a medium saucepan
- Cut asparagus into ½ inch pieces
- Add asparagus to boiling water, and boil in pot for 1 min
- Strain and set aside
- Cut peppadews into strips
- Cook ground turkey in a skillet over medium heat until brown, and season with salt and pepper to taste
- Add asparagus and peppadews to turkey and set aside
- Bring water to boil in a medium saucepan for the pasta
- Cook pasta for about 6 to 7 minutes
- Strain pasta and add it into the turkey mixture
- Mix well and add in the peanut sauce
Get in Touch with Chef Hugo Uys
Naveen Duwadi is the non-obvious millennial foodie. He’s worked extensively in the digital space, and was part of the initial team at HelloGiggles, a digital brand founded by actress Zooey Deschanel. Since then, he’s worked across Time Inc.’s food and luxury publications including FOOD & WINE and Travel + Leisure, helping to market the brands to Fortune 500 companies. Naveen currently resides in Manhattan’s West Village neighborhood, where he’s endlessly researching his next greatest meal.