Food memories are a strong and beautiful thing. A small bite or a fleeting scent is enough to transport someone to an earlier time. It’s true for everybody, but perhaps as diners, we overlook its importance in chefs and cooks as well. That’s why the Hubei Tasting Dinner at Q by Peter Chang was special.
If you don’t know already, Q is the flagship restaurant of Chef Peter Chang, a James-Beard finalist who is well-known for his Sichuan-influenced cuisine. Andrew Zimmern even wrote that “many consider Peter Chang to be the greatest Chinese chef cooking in America.”
But he was equally as famous for disappearing from his restaurants (especially when they became popular) as he was for his Sichuan style of cooking. HIs fans would literally to seek him out as he moved from place to place around the country! (He might be the only chef with a wikipedia section on “disappearances and movement” haha). He’s since settled in the Washington DC area, opened a bunch of restaurants under his name, and been featured in a variety of media, from The NY Times to Andrew Zimmern ’s TV show and blog.
It was a special treat to have him cook food that he grew up with in the province of Hubei because they were imbued with lot of meaning and memories for Chef Chang. In addition to the food, Chef Chang told some stories. One was that when he was young, he didn’t have much food, but he watched his mom and grandmother cook and became inspired. And so, this home-style cooking holds a place near and dear to his heart.
This was a very special night. If you have the chance to go, do so!
Below are some (but not all) of the dishes from that special dinner:
Hot and Numbing Shredded Chicken with Crepe
Ginko Duck soup
Chrysanthemum Greens and Tofu Rice Balls
Grandma's Shredded Pork w. Green Pepper
Chicken Mushroom Curry Stew
Chopped Chili Pepper Shrimp w. Vermicelli
Sweet Osmanthus Dates