Stories of Chinese Craftsman’s Spirit – A Feast for Your Eyes: Exquisite Artisan Chinese Pastries by Chef Zhao

BEIJING, Sept. 9, 2022  /PRNewswire/ — A news report by China.org.cn on CPC centenary:

On a July day in 2022, two international students came to visit Huilian Zhao, head pastry chef at Beijing Minzu Hotel, to learn how to make creatively shaped Chinese pastries. The two students are Yisheng Zhang from Mali and Sisi Yang from Costa Rica.

Upon their arrival, they tasted some of the creatively shaped pastries made by Chef Zhao. They are stunned by the exquisiteness and great taste of these food. Yang exclaimed over a one that looks exactly like an apple, and Zhang kept saying "yummy" after tasting a "walnut". And then, Chef Zhao began to show them how to handmake a walnut-shaped pastry. Under his  guidance, the two students soon got the hang of it. "Awesome!" Yisheng murmured exultingly.

Besides, these pastries also reflect good wishes. The beautiful walnut-shaped pastry signifies "harmony and beauty", as, in Chinese, the first character of "walnut"(hetao) is the homonym for "harmony"(he). If paired with an apple, it will mean world peace, as the Chinese word they formed is pronounced the same as "peace"(heping). "How brilliant! These pastries not only look beautiful, but also convey good wishes," Yang said admiringly.

When asked how he started his career in pastry-making, Huilian Zhao replied smilingly, "I began to be interested in it when I saw a chef demonstrate how to make pastries at a Mid-Autumn Festival. I can’t help marveling at the exquisiteness of the artisan food. Since then, I began to love it. " Mr. Zhao, who was then just asked to work temporarily in the workshop due to chef shortages, wouldn’t have thought that he would become a pastry chef later and pursue the career for the rest of his life. Today, many foreigners, attracted to his delicate pastries and superb craftsmanship, have come to visit him,wanting to see him at work.

Creatively delicate pastries made by Chef Zhao, which used to be served just for ordinary customers in a Beijing hotel, have now been in the state banquet menu and started to be known to the world.  Huilian Zhao is presenting, in his own way, to the world the great charm of Chinese pastries. Chef Zhao is much more than a national master in pastry. He is also one of the Chinese artisans representing the spirit of craftsman.

After this hands-on experience, the two international students learned the basic procedure for making creatively shaped Chinese pastries, and more importantly, gained a better understanding of the Chinese craftsman spirit, the very working attitude seen in Huilian Zhao, who kept pursuing excellence in pastry-making in the hope of spreading Chinese pastries exhibiting oriental beauty and Chinese-style elegance all over the world.

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