Yan Cheng (in black) makes a Yunnan dish. (Photo provided to yunnangateway.com)
"Food nourishes our bodies, while the flavor cheers us up. Yunnan boasts one of the most diverse food materials in the world, but the Yunnan cuisine enjoys little fame internationally. Why? The reason lies in its taste. We should make certain changes over the traditional Yunnan dishes,” said Yan Cheng, the chief chef of Kunming Hotel.
Smiling, Yan said cooking is also an art. And he thinks that a chef should appreciate life and know about fashion. Only by knowing something of everything, can the chef cook dishes of cultural charm.
A baked silver cod. The bubble, which improves the dish in form, color and taste, is made out of lemon juice by using the molecular technology. (Photo provided to yunnangateway.com)
Going beyond national border via novel taste
Yan is 50 years old, and he has been a cook for 31 years. As a Chinese cooking master and an international judge with the World Chef Association, Yan enjoys the special allowance of China’s State Council. With a thin but handsome build, Yan is full of youthful spirit, as if he were in his 30s.
"The Yunnan cuisine is not as famous as the Hunan, Sichuan and Cantonese cuisines, and there is a long way if we want to make it internationally visible,” said Yan, who has cooked in a different way. Some people observed that what he cooked doesn’t look like the Yunnan cuisine.
"I took a different road. Although some old people are not used to my dishes of light taste, my dishes will be internationally more popular," said Yan. Traditionally, we just fry Yunnan cheese and add pepper and salt on it. However, Yan will first shape the cheese into a paste, and then shrimp bits, with the heavy fishy smell removed, will be added into the cheese. When eaten, the Yunnan cheese is coupled with tamarind juice.