yee chino ~ designer fusion
One of the high lights of my visit to China was meeting Mrs. Chen; the design partner and wife of one of the famous designers I met in Hangzhou last April, and an entrepreneurial restaurant owner to boot. It was at a dinner on our second night in Hangzhou, at a 5-star resort, where the food was far below average in taste and presentation; my expression must have been evident, as Mrs. Chen asked me if I liked “designed” food. I answered that I loved “fusion” food, where the presentation was “designed”, and looked unique, and tasted as good as it looked.My friend Yao must have been translating quite well, as by the end of the evening we had an invitation from “Madam Chen” (as my partner referred to her) to visit one of her three restaurants for lunch the next day; YEE CHINO, her original, famous for both the interior design and the innovative food. A top spot for locally trendy and famous people!When we (finally) arrived for Saturday lunch (lucky since the driver acted as if he had never seen the inside a car before and was unfamiliar with many of the controls: brake pedal, steering wheel, etc.), Madam Chen greeted me with a wide smile and a hug at the entrance of YEE CHINO. We were accompanied by three of the design studio staff, including the head designers, and were seated in a private dining room, with an eclectic collection of antiques and designer furnishings, all smoothly coming together as a comfortable backdrop for gracious dining.First, the food was the best we experienced in mainland China. Madam Chen was amazing in how she had selected a perfect culinary journey for us; everything exquisitely designed and presented (I’m afraid my iphoto images don’t do it justice). The tastes were beyond belief, the conversation enlightening (even with a translator) and the service impeccable. We were duly impressed!
I asked Madam Chen how many hours she put in every week to design the regularly changing original dishes she is famous for, and keep three restuarants running so smoothly, as well as managing the design office. She answered that she does not count the hours, as she loves what she does. She did however spend most of the her time in the other two restaurants, as YEE CHINO was her first, and she now has developed a good manager. Spoken like a true entrepreneur of the New China; innovative, exceptionally hard-working, and very successful.