A new Chinese star shines bright in Hollywood culinary scene

Source:Xinhua Published: 2019/6/11 18:48:40

Traditional Beijing snacks Photo: IC

Bistro Na's in Los Angeles made headlines this week with the announcement that it had been awarded a coveted Michelin Star by the famed Michelin Restaurant Guide.

This special ranking broke Michelin's 10-year absence from Los Angeles, and made Bistro Na's the only Chinese restaurant in Southern California to be so honored.

"We are ecstatic to be the only traditional Chinese restaurant to be awarded a Michelin star in Southern California," said Executive Chef Tian Yong, who reigns over all things culinary at Bistro Na's in Los Angeles. "It's a dream come true!"

For its elite clientele, dining at the Bistro, which offers Peking noble cuisine, is a mini-vacation back in time to the Qing Dynasty (1644-1911) of imperial China.

Its decor is elegantly-styled on classic imperial designs, with almond-colored, wood-paneled lattice walls, glazed glass inlays, and hand-carved Chinese accents and handsome geometrical reliefs.

Overhead, glowing lights with luminous, round red shades and tassel accents hang from a wooden grid on the ceiling, and imperial-style tables and carved wooden chairs fill the dining space below. It provides a tranquil setting that echoes the grandeur of bygone days.

In an exclusive interview with the Xinhua News Agency, Tian said he was lucky to be the one chosen by the company to come to LA from Beijing when the Bistro opened in Temple City, a few miles from downtown LA, in late 2016.

Tian, the rising star in the culinary firmament, has already received significant international recognition for his exquisite culinary creations while serving as the chief chef for Chinese cuisine for VIP meals prepared for champion athletes and officials at the 2008 Beijing Olympic Games.

Now, Tian plans to make Bistro Na's in LA a fine dining mecca for Angelenos and out-of-town visitors.

Combining exceptional ingredients prepared by a dedicated team of expert chefs helmed by Tian, many of his dishes are inspired by Peking noble recipes that hark back to the Qing Dynasty, such as smoked pork ribs, light and tasty green onion pancakes, beautifully-presented emperor's jar soup, feather-light crispy shrimp, tender crispy lamb, delicate bean and custard desserts and much, much more.

But, it is not all classic Chinese fare nor the same recipes that are served in China.

Tian combines essences of other types of food, including Italian, French, Japanese, Southeast Asian, and American, to cater to the different tastes of his US customers.

"It's still Chinese, but for certain dishes, American diners have slightly different tastes than in China," he explained. "For instance, in Beijing, we cook our steak with garlic sauce, but that taste is a little strong for Americans. So, in LA, for their Angus Beef, we had to invent a new onion sauce to replace the garlic. And we do truffles here."

It is clear that his relationship with food is much more of a special calling than just a day job. Tian acknowledged that sharing food creates "a special bond" between him and his diners and motivates him to continue to work tirelessly to improve.

"It is important to incorporate our culture and our heritage as well as local touches into my dishes, so I like to learn from my customers the essence of what they like and also visit other restaurants so I can keep growing as a chef," he said.

As for now, riding high on his unprecedented Michelin win, Tian has no plans to rest on his laurels.

"My entire team will continue to work hard to deliver a culinary experience like no other to diners who come through our doors. We aim to retain the Michelin award for many years to come," he said.

Newspaper headline: ‘Dream come true’

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