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A pinch of Asia

By Mike Peters ( China Daily ) Updated: 2015-11-27 08:30:32

A pinch of Asia

Chef Bradley Hull in his Shanghai restaurant kitchen. [Photo provided to China Daily]

You can admire his ginger salmon or his Chinese cumin chicken. But don't say the F-word around chef Bradley Hull.

"What I do is very much Western cuisine-it is not fusion," says the Canadian-born chef at the Portman Ritz-Carlton in Shanghai. "But I enjoy the Asian flavors a lot, and use the techniques I know to take advantage of them."

The techniques of his training are based on French cooking, so he will make a beurre blanc (white butter) sauce with the traditional reduction of vinegar and white wine into which cold, whole butter is blended off the heat to prevent separation. But Hull will add soy sauce to the base as well as the traditional garlic and shallots. His braised pork belly is likewise "not Asian food done in a Western way" but a Western dish augmented with Sichuan peppercorn, another of the Asian flavors he's happy to play with.

That sensibility was probably inevitable for a young foodie growing up in Vancouver.

"I could go down a street and find a lot of food there that's very, very good-especially Asian dishes and ingredients. There was a huge market across from the first hotel I was working at, and a buddy and I were always stopping in shops, see some new ingredient, and ask 'What the heck is that?'" he remembers with a grin. "Then we'd get a taste and try to figure out how to use it."

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