Doreen Fang: Cooking her way to the top

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By Alicia Barron By Alicia Barron

Every since I was a little kid, I just loved eating and my parents used to throw parties all the time,” Doreen Fang said. “So I've always been around food. I've always helped in the kitchen.”

Fang not only enjoyed eating at such an early age, but also prepared a lot of the Chinese food for her family.  But it wasn't just Chinese food that tempted her taste buds.

“I’m somebody who embraces all cuisines,” Fang said. “I say let's embrace all cultures.”

When Fang was only 5 years old she started experimenting with everything from Italian to Mexican menus.

“Originally I was going to be a surgeon, then a pool player and my parents weren't too happy,” Fang said. “I said I cook all the time, my friend's love it and naturally you know what, I'm going to go to culinary school.”

She got her formal training at the California Culinary Academy in San Francisco.

“I really had to learn and that's what I loved about culinary school is there are so many things I didn't know about and because I was so passionate about food, I was like a sponge,” Fang said.

Her passion for food got noticed in a big way. Fang was selected this year as one of the finalists for season six of The Next Food Network Star.

“I was able to go through each round,” Fang said. “First there was open casting call. I went for a little demo, where I demonstrated my own food,” she continued. “I went to New York and just made tilapia and all these different things they asked me to make and then I was on the show.”

While Fang didn't make it to the finale, it was a great experience she hopes to eventually bring to her own cooking show one day.

“We're such creature of habit and I think were afraid to try something new sometimes,” Fang said.  “So what I'm trying to teach people is don't be afraid.”

Fang is already giving advice on Dining with Doreen. It’s an online show where she's cooking, eating and reviewing different restaurants. She recently made a stop at Hula's Modern Tiki in Phoenix.

“For my webisode here at Hula's, basically I wanted to make something that was inspired by Hula's cuisine,” Fang said. “So it's got that Hawaiian and Asian fusion they got going on.  I made my own version of poki. It's typically raw fish.”

So whether Fang’s cooking or reviewing, she hopes the fun she inspires in the kitchen with bring families back to the dinner table.

“It's not just about food and cooking, but it's about bringing a family together, building tradition of eating together,” Fang said.

Fang is also big on the charity scene. A foundation in memory of her mother was created to assist nurses financially. For more information on The Bonnie A.C. Lee Fang Foundation log onto www.bonnieacleefangfoundation.org and www.diningwithdoreen.com.