Renata’s Special New Year Treat

Authors: Go Chengdu

2015-02-27

Living in Chengdu, the Italian lady wishes to make something different for the New Year dinner. And now she has the confidence.
“Here they come!” Renata Galli opened the door and greeted the two chefs, smiles on face and a white apron around her waist. Soon the three found themselves at the tidy kitchen, where Renata had made everything for her first try to cook Sichuan dishes.
Renata Galli represents an Italian wine exporter and now lives at an apartment at Ascott apartment hotel in downtown Chengdu. She came to Chengdu with her husband and two children in August 2014, and the two chefs, Zeng Yinbin and Chen Guilin, from Chengdu New East Cuisine School, are distinguished masters of Sichuan cooking.
“I enjoy cooking for my husband and my kids,” said Renata, “and this year, I think I can make something special for the New Year dinner. You see, I want to give them a surprise!”
And that was why Zeng and Chen were invited to the kitchen. They came to teach Renata to cook several typical Sichuan dishes.
The day was Feb. 5, two weeks before the Spring Festival, which is also called the Chinese New Year.
The Italian lady soon engaged herself in dealing with some unfamiliar materials: garlic sprouts, mandarin fish and Pixian Douban, a kind of broad bean sauce that is indispensable in cooking many Sichuan dishes.

Today, the two chefs must teach “the Italian apprentice” to prepare four dishes: twice-cooked pork, mandarin fish with green and red chili, chicken with green chili and soup with mushroom and meatballs.
“Foods for New Year dinner should have auspicious meanings to express good wishes,” said Zeng, "for example, the Chinese word for “fish” sounds like the word for abundance, so the fish dish is a must for on the New Year banquet table."
The apprenticeship ended two hours later, with four dishes ready on the table and instructions dotted on the notebook.
Renata was satisfied with the result. “Such a great achievement I’ve made,” she exclaimed, “and I can’t wait to cook the four dishes for my family!”
mandarin fish with green and red chili
soup with mushroom and meatballs
twice-cooked pork
chicken with green chili
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