I became a cook apprentice at the age of 16, almost 25 years ago. I started to have my own understandings of cooking very early on, but such understandings had to be consistently reshaped, reforged, and refined through years of practice, before finally evolving into my own culinary style. I started my career as a professional chef in some high-end hotels in Chengdu. In hotel restaurants, traditional Sichuan dishes were the dominating items on the menu, such as Gongbao Chicken, Twice-cooked Pork Belly, Mapo Tofu, even very historical dishes like Chinese Cabbage in Clear Broth. However, outside the hotels, there were way more innovative and creative Sichuan dishes.
In terms of my experience as a chef in the Netherlands, I love the fact that it is a much more respected profession than it is back in China. The appreciation and respect I encounter at work in the restaurant here, really make me enjoy my work at lot more.
Chef Li Dan’s Tip for Home Cooking:
Personally, I think that perfect temperature in the cooking process is the key to successful Sichuan cuisine. However, most people don’t have access to the extremely high temperature required for some Sichuan dishes, due to the limitation of their cooking stations at home. So, I would recommend to avoid trying to make these dishes, and instead make some stew or soup, which can be cooked perfectly on moderate temperature that is accessible to everyone.
But, really craving for some stir-fried Sichuan delicacies? Well, I guess you’ll need to come to Sichuan Chengdu Paradise Restaurant and enjoy some goodies I make for you guys.