Bringing Beijing Street-Style Food to India
BW Hotelier recently got hold of Zhang Hong Sheng, Head Chef, The China Kitchen, to know more about his cooking style and how he manages to make TCK unique.
HAILING FROM Tongzhou city in Beijing, China, Chef Zhang Hong Sheng holds 21 years in the culinary industry, out of which for seven years he has been with The China Kitchen at Hyatt Regency as a Head Chef. Taking its branch to Cyber City, Gurugram, Chef Sheng has played an important role in spreading the taste of authentic Chinese cuisine. While being completely abreast with his roots, he has a fond liking for Indian cuisine and culture, especially because of the emphasis on spices and chillies in both gastronomies. BW Hotelier recently got hold of him, to know more about his cooking style and how he manages to make TCK unique.
Brief us about your menu and how you are making it different from others.
The menu at TCK by The China Kitchen has been curated with the aim of being exceptional but at the same time extremely authentic. The primary thought at play was eating with your eyes before your mouth. Hence it is of utmost importance to create dishes which are visually appealing but still retain the authenticity that was created at The China Kitchen at Hyatt Regency Delhi. The menu is an amalgamation of unique and electic dishes like the ladyfinger sashimi along with classic dishes like Peking duck, gong bao chicken, braised tofu and broccoli and spicy mapo tofu.
Brief us about the sourcing of ingredients and how you ensure them to be fresh?
The soul of an extraordinary dish lies in its origin which requires picking of right and fresh ingredients and combining them with exquisite flavours. This is the core belief of TCK. In line with the idea of keeping the dishes as authentic as possible, the ingredients play a pivotal role and hence even those are sourced as organically as possible. From sauces to condiments like bullet chillies have been sourced from Beijing to keep the flavour as close to home. Another concept that has picked up in relevance is the 'Farm To Table' concept.T his philosophy basically embraces a sustainable approach to dining and results in the retention of higher levels of nutrients in the food. This concept is followed religiously at TCK as the vegetables are grown at our own farmhouse which is located in Chattarpur, thus bringing to the forefront the aim to provide dishes that are fresh as well as delicious.
Is it difficult to introduce authentic Chinese cuisine among Indians where the Indo-Chinese dishes are already a hit?
Introducing authentic Chinese cuisine is a dilemma of the past. The Indian population has evolved and so has their palates. Chinese has been the go-to cuisine for Indians since time immemorial but it has mostly been catered to Indian tastes resulting in the creation of a cuisine which came to be known as 'Indo Chinese'. However, people today are very well travelled and in the process have been exposed to flavours and foods belonging to different countries. Millennials more so are aware of various cuisines today and tend to opt for food that is organic and authentic in its flavours. There is a major chunk of the population that is aware of the different tastes belonging to the various provinces that match the Indian palate like Hunan Sichuan.
What is your team strength and the training process?
The team consists of four expat chefs and our strength lies in the in-depth knowledge of the culture, cuisine and flavours of the region we hail from. To bring authentic flavours to the table it is extremely important to be well versed with the produce, spices and tastes. So the core component of the training process is knowing the cuisine thoroughly and to replicate it to the best of their abilities. This is followed by the constant brainstorming to improve the flavours and ingredients along with other components in order to provide the best dining experience to the customers.
How do you ensure consistency in taste? Are you coming up with any new innovation?
At TCK there is a constant endeavour to experiment with new ingredients or with old ones to create dishes that are contemporary and unique. The aim is to provide true Beijing Style Street food that utilizes novel flavours and textures to elicit an immediate palate response. However, in this endeavour, the objective is to keep the authenticity intact. TCK has set out to provide a premium dining experience with the Beijing street style food that is authentic yet ultramodern in its flavour and visual appeal.
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