LIVE TO EAT: Chef Peng Looi at MESA on Thursday night.


I’ve been working on a piece for Food & Dining’s next issue (Aug/Sept/Oct). It’s a profile of Mimi Dabbagh, co-owner since 1987 of August Moon Chinese Bistro, which is located on Lexington Road in Louisville.

Her business partner all these years is the justly renowned chef, Peng Looi, who keeps a hand in August Moon as he helms Asiatique on Bardstown Road. Chef Looi appeared Thursday evening at Mesa: A Collaborative Kitchen (216 Pearl Street, New Albany), assisted by Sarah Strite, his sous chef at Asiatique.

Given the timing, and with my deadline just around the corner, I thought it was the perfect opportunity to drop by and watch Chef Looi at work. Background, you know. Thanks to Bobby Bass for indulging me.

Following are photos, with just this observation: Chef Looi’s mantra is “there’s nothing new under the sun” in a world of kitchens, and his advice for cooking is something along the lines of “keep it simple, stupid.”

Refreshing wisdom from a grizzled veteran of the restaurant wars … and I very much appreciate his thoughts.