Danyi GAO – Time Out Shanghai’s Chef of the Year 2018

Danyi Gao: Master Chef of Chinese cuisine

  • Co-Founder of SHAKE Restaurant & Bar
  • Founder of BUN CHA CHA Vietnamese Restaurant
  • Launched  Private Kitchen “Fable” in Shanghai

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Danyi Gao didn’t mean to be a chef. It just sort of happened to her. The Ningbo native liked to cook and said so on an Airbnb profile she kept in Shanghai. She’d cook for her guests for a small fee, who eventually convinced her she had the skills. She moved to Qingpu so she could have a house with a garden where she could grow vegetables and host dinners.

Danyi Gao’s culinary path has been far from conventional. Told by the Culinary Institute of America that she needed six months of kitchen experience, Danyi Gao found an internship placement at Jing An Shangri-La working as commis chef instead. Later, she honed her craft by running a private kitchen and went on to win first place in the Chinese cooking show, Chef Nic. When planning to open Shake, Gao was looking for a head chef when she and her business partner decided she was the best person to carry out the vision. Shake was a success, and Gao’s newest project Bun Cha Cha comes from a desire to reinterpret her favorite Vietnamese dish for Shanghai.

Shake Restaurant & Bar concept

At the same time, she was a frequent customer of jazz bar Heyday, and got to be friends with the owner. One night, on the spur of the moment, they decided they would open a funkier kind of place, what would become Shake, but she couldn’t find the right chef for the budget she had. So her partner suggested she do it. Me? she asked. She wasn’t a chef but that didn’t stop her. And so her career as a chef was born. Chef Danyi creates innovative, cutting-edge cuisine at Shake Restaurant & Bar, which is inspired by New York’s supper club culture and offers

Bun Cha Cha, the Vietnamese concept

I got this idea in late 2017, when I traveled to Hanoi and Ho Chi Minh City. After I ate bun cha for the first time, I thought the idea of a healthy Vietnamese concept would work well for Shanghai, and I would like to show people that there’s so much more to Vietnamese food than pho and spring rolls. For people who haven’t been to Vietnam, they can come [to my restaurant] and try this dish.


Today, she’s garnered a degree of fame from cooking shows and local media, and sits on a database of knowledge about Japanese, Korean and Taiwanese restaurants from her time living in the western suburbs of the city, where those restaurants predominate. She was Time Out Shanghai’s Chef of the Year 2018, while in 2017 she won Chef Nic’s global showdown, in which she was the only female contestant. She has also starred in multiple variety shows and even a documentary by Destination Canada.

  • Co – Founder and Head Chef of SHAKE Restaurant & Bar
  • Founder and Head Chef of BUN CHA CHA Vietnamese Restaurant
  • Launched one of the Hottest Private Kitchen “Fable” in Shanghai
  • TATLER Asia Top 400 Icons of 2019
  • 2019 MGM Gastrono Music Fest Culinary Leader
  • Winner of “CHEF OF THE YEAR ”by That’s Shang Hai Food&Drink Awards 2018
  • 2017 Chef Nic First Place Champion
  • Guest Chef of W Hotel From Marriott Group
  • Guest Chef of Nicholas Tse’s Live Streaming with Over 120 Millions Viewers
  • 2016 Diamond Cuisine Award Chef of the Year
  • Guest Chef & Documentary Host of “Quebec City” for Canadian Ministry of Tourism
  • TV Channel YOUNG “The Crazy Fridge”Long Term Guest Chef.



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