My Life in Food: Shane Zhao

Shane Zhao, Head Chef at Bar & Restaurant EightyEight, shares her favourite foodie memories…
LUXE Shane LARGE

A meal that takes you back to childhood…

A Chinese hot pot. I always have hot pot when the weather is terribly cold and it takes me back to my childhood each time. It brings my whole family together around the table, sharing a pot of deliciousness.

 

The food that brings you the greatest joy…

Dumplings. My grandmother always makes dumplings from scratch. The most enjoyable part is the time we spend together while making them. Over the years she’s helped me become the best in my family by teaching me all the techniques and flavours I need to conquer the recipe. It’s a skill that brings back fond memories for me – a skill I’ll cherish forever.

 

The food that represents where you come from…

Crossing-the-bridge noodles. The story is about a scholar who was studying hard for his imperial exams on a small island. His wife, who would bring him food, found that by the time she had crossed the bridge to the island, the soup would be cold and the  noodles were soggy. She then decided to load a large earthen pot with boiling chicken and pork broth with a layer of fat on top that would act as insulation and keep the broth warm. The noodles and other ingredients were kept in a separate container, and when she arrived, she mixed the two containers together for a warm rice noodle soup.

 

Your most memorable meal…

The dinner I made for my husband on our first date. It was the simplest meal I have ever put together from some cucumber, tomato and noodles leftover in the fridge. I used to feel bad looking back on it, but he loved it. I guess this is what love is.

 

 

Your favourite meal of the day and why…

Dinner is always my favourite meal of the day. I enjoy taking the time to have my food. I used to take hours to have dinner with my family on weekends, when we can have a chat and a laugh together. I think sharing is a big part of a mealtime with loved ones and making those memories around the table together.

 

The best cook you know…

Definitely my mum. She is not a chef, but she cooks from her heart to take care of everyone in the family and you can taste it in her food. Especially when I am ill, she always knows the best foods to make me better.

 

The food you turn to when you need some comfort…

Mum’s spicy noodle soup always does the trick, it’s something that always warms up my body and my heart.

 

The food you always need in your fridge…

Vegetables are a huge part of my diet, particularly vegetables in season. They’re an excellent staple and are very versatile, so I always have a good supply in my fridge. EightyEight’s Eight Course Tasting Menu is a prime example of showing what you can do with vegetables and how exciting you can make vegetable-based dishes.

 

Shane 2  700 x 700

 

The food you never give up…

Seafood, rice noodles, chillies and peaches. There’s far too much to list, I love food too much!

 

What food means to you…

Physical and mental satisfaction in general. But to me, most importantly, the beauty of food is that it brings people together.

 

grantleyhall.co.uk


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