Throughout his restaurant career, Paul Lau said he has come to enjoy one simple pleasure: Watching his customers smile after they taste his food.
"This has been my job my whole life," said Lau , 62. "I like cooking, I like to see people when they're eating my meal they're happy."
Lau - a long-time Carson City restaurateur - is the owner of Genghix Asian Fusion on North Carson Street. It features Cantonese-style Chinese food as well as sushi and pho, a Vietnamese-style noodle soup.
While the restaurant opened in 2008, Lau has cooked at and owned restaurants in the region since 1986, starting with his former Genghis Khan Kitchen, a Chinese buffet, that he sold five years ago.
After running that Winnie Lane restaurant for 20 years, Lau moved to the Bay Area to work in his brother's restaurant.
In 2008, he returned to Carson City, which is where he raised his son and daughter - who are now attending the University of Nevada, Reno, - and opened Genghix Asian Fusion.
Lau got his start in the restaurant business in Hong Kong.
"When I was young, coming out to work, I knew some friends who were working in the restaurants, so that's how I got a chance to get into the restaurant world," he said.
He said the learning curve was steep - especially with Chinese mainstays like shark-fin soup.
Lau came to the United States in 1982 after learning the trade in that Hong Kong kitchen. Years later his family would own 10 restaurants in Nevada and California, including the two he owned in Reno and his first eatery in Carson City.
Today, Lau is focusing on his Carson City location.
Lau said the economy has put a damper on business, but he said he plans to stick to it, especially now that he's helping put his children through college.
"Hopefully in two or three more years they can graduate and they can get a good job," Lau said. "Then I can think about retiring."
For now he plans to continue cooking despite the long days.
"Since I came here in 1982 I've only had one job: It's in the kitchen," he said. "But I like it. When I'm cooking, I'm happy. These are skills I can make money with."