was born into a family of scholars and gourmets in
old Peking, which is now known as Beijing (bei means 'north', and
jing is the 'capital'), and travelled widely throughout China as a
teenager. I had a traditional classical Chinese upbringing before
coming to England at the age of 17 to complete my education at Oxford
and in London, where I now live.
from the Slade School of Fine Art in 1960, I worked in films first
as an Assistant Director, and then as an Editor until the mid-80s.
But from the mid-70s, I also began to write articles and books on
Chinese cuisine, and I also started to teach Chinese
cookery, as well as acting as a food and wine consultant
to Chinese restaurants and food manufacturers.
self-taught, although I did take lessons from some of the top chefs
both here and in Hong Kong. I have also worked in professional kitchens
throughout the world. So what I was trained to do has become a hobby,
and what was my hobby is now my profession!
contributed to several websites in the past, but my main aim for starting
chinese-at-table.com is to demystify some of the
misunderstandings that surround one of the greatest cuisines
in the world. The history and traditions of China are inextricably
linked to its food culture, and its geographical and physical diversity
has also shaped a rich cultural heritage and influenced the style
of the culinary art, now so popular the world over.
5000 years of history are behind some of the various
traditional dishes that have now permeated into Western society, but
little is known of their origins. Here I would like to mention the
late Barbara Tropp, a China scholar turned Chinese cook, who wrote
in her wonderful book The Modern Art of Chinese Cooking (William
book begins with philosophy, moves through techniques, and then
moves on to food. It follows my belief that when you set out to
master Chinese cooking it is Chinese philosophy that is your foundation,
Chinese cooking techniques that supply the bricks and the mortar,
and the delicious food that follows is then the natural result and
the crowning glory. Without philosophy to give it sharp, Chinese
food is shallow. Without technique, it falls apart. It is like a
special house that one cannot hope to build from the pinnacles down.
Chinese food is
fascinating and delicious and I hope my web site will encourage you
to learn more about it, and most of all, to enjoy cooking and eating
the Chinese way.