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The chocolate chemist

By Xu Junqian ( Shanghai Star ) Updated: 2015-02-11 09:51:14

The chocolate chemist

Precise: Ye Wei is an exacting pastry chef. [Photo provided to Shanghai Star]

It also cost the family 20 eggs, an item that was still a luxury and could only be bought with government authorized coupons. But his penchant for sweets led him all the way to the kitchen of China’s highest hotel.

 He has competed in world culinary competitions and is a member of the judging panel of the World Association of Chefs Societies' competition.

"Chocolate, or perhaps any dessert, is my cigarette break, as I don’t smoke. Besides, while in a pastry kitchen, you have nothing to take advantage of except some free cakes," he says, joking.

One of his signature dishes, and a favorite for Valentine’s Day, is the chocolate balloon. The hollow white chocolate ball, melts open when brought to the table and poured over with a jar of hot chocolate. It is not only a delight to the eye, but also a popular prop for gentlemen to hide an engagement ring in and pop the question on one knee.

"I have helped my people hide all kinds of rings, but in most cases, they are just the plain inexpensive type. I guess they are worried I would sneak them away if it was a pink diamond or ruby," Ye jokes. In the past five years, since the chocolate balloon was introduced, it has become a signature dish at the restaurant. "People need to get married on days other than Valentine’s Day as well," Ye quips.

IF YOU GO

Century 100 at Park Hyatt Shanghai Address: 91F, 100 Century Avenue, Shanghai World Financial Center, Pudong New Area

Tel: 021-6888-1234

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