Chef Xiao (R) seasons food with a chef in the kitchen. [Photo/gdzjdaily.com.cn]
In Wuchuan county-level city, Zhanjiang, there is a group of chefs specially undertaking Nian Li banquets. Chef Xiao Weiliang is one of them.
Chef Xiao is over sixty. He used to be a famous cook in the city. After retirement, he formed his own team to contract banquets, especially Nian Li banquets.
In his team, there are five chefs, the oldest over seventy, the youngest over forty. Because of their good culinary skills and service, they get booked for making banquets all throughout the year
Chef Xiao said, in order to prepare for the banquet in the evening, he and his team members started the preparation work early morning, including washing, cutting, cooking, frying and more.
At noon, they take a break, while the rice and soup are still being cooked in the kitchen.
In the afternoon, all the materials are ready and it’s time to cook the dishes. Chef Xiao took command and the members did their jobs in an orderly way. Two chefs were responsible for cutting, while the other four took charge of frying and boiling.
Chef Xiao was in charge of seasoning and tasting, and he checked on every dish meticulously. He was also responsible for the dishes which are hard to make, such as fish ball and stir-fried rice noodles in a “broken” wok.