A matter of taste sets menu apart

By Li Yingxue | CHINA DAILY | Updated: 2023-12-14 08:30
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Zhang's signature Xiaopang Feicha (Little Fatty's roasted pork). [Photo provided to China Daily]

Chef experiments with ingredients to deliver plates of creativity, Li Yingxue reports.

At the age of 6, Zhang Zhicheng crafted his first-ever plate of fried rice; by 19, he was running a newly opened restaurant.

At 24, he became head chef of a private kitchen, Yanjintang, where his reputation in Beijing's culinary circles soared. At 28, he went to Macao to take charge of the two-star Michelin restaurant Golden Flower.

Zhang, a native of Beijing, is affectionately known as "Little Fatty" by patrons and colleagues alike. Despite his youthful age of 30, his professional journey already boasts a prolific tapestry of accomplishments.

This year, the seasoned yet youthful chef embraced a fresh challenge, assuming the role of executive chef at the China Tang restaurant in Beijing, shuttling between the gastronomic hubs of Beijing and Macao.

"What I want to do is high-end Chinese cuisine, without too many Western techniques or much Western presentation. The key is deliciousness," Zhang says, adding that it is better to spend time on preparing the ingredients and controlling the cooking temperature than on presentation.

He excels in classic Chinese cuisine and creative fusion dishes. His dishes are characterized by richness, intensity, and freshness, inheriting traditional cooking, while interpreting Chinese culinary aesthetics with his unique skills. "I believe that innovation is making today's dishes better than yesterday's."

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