Owner of Sliver Cottage and founder of Chengdu Yintan Catering in 2002, Ms. Zhou Ziling is born and raised in the City of Hibiscus – Chengdu, and has committed herself to pursuing the ultimate in gastronomy. From as far away as Tasmania, Australia to her hometown of Aba, Sichuan, Zhou travels to over forty countries around the world looking for best quality ingredients, and visits high-end Michelin restaurants translating avant-garde culinary concepts into her own restaurant’s reality.
Committed to promoting Sichuan cuisine with a global vision, she has established several restaurants including Yintan, Hidden Place and Silver Pot, covering authentic seafood hot pot, traditional Sichuan cuisine and exquisite Sichuan fusion cuisine during 19 years’ time.
Classic Sichuan cuisine returned with Song flair
Sichuan cuisine is one of the eight major cuisines in China that’s embedded with unique geographic charm and rich culinary culture. Ancient Sichuan cuisine relied heavily on spices and strong flavours, but later on alternative choices emerged to cater to other preferences. Modern Sichuanese food is more than just spicy. It is incredibly diverse, exciting, and inclusive of different styles and regional culinary treasures. Its heart and soul lies in the alchemy of flavour and the willingness to move forward with the times, exactly what has made Zhou’s restaurant brands booming with vitality.
The Song Dynasty marks an important notch for Sichuan cuisine because during that time Sichuanese food travelled to the Central Plain of China and since became a national popular cuisine. The popularity of banqueting during the Song Dynasty also contributed to the flourishing of Sichuan cuisine. Ms. Zhou believes the hardest thing about Sichuanese cooking is timing, and an iron wok, which was first invented in the Song Dynasty, is one of the best materials for heat control.
Gripped by the elegant lifestyle from that booming era of cultural brilliance and a daring spirit for breaking with tradition, Sliver Cottage was conceived and designed to restores the charm of Song dynasty’s rich culinary culture by incorporating Song people’s four main leisurely activities: tea-making, incense-burning, flower-arranging and indoor decor paintings into its exquisite oriental aesthetics.
Revitalising ancient female chef spirit and character
The Song Dynasty was a time when skilled Chu Niang (female chefs) were very much revered and highly sought after as they could direct enormous banquets for wealthy patrons and dignitaries. Inheriting such organizational tactics and conducting along with culinary skills, Zhou spent two years working with Sichuan cuisine master Peng Ziyu, and many more masters later, to revamp the menu of Sliver Cottage based in the city of Chengdu, which was granted as a UNESCO Creative City of Gastronomy in February 2010.
Traditional Sichuan cuisine emphasizes fresh ingredients and a high level of sophistication in cooking skills. This has prompted Zhou to think about how the presentation and the uniqueness of Sichuan cuisine can be tapped to bring world’s attention to it.
Years of research and experience in the restaurant industry has finally seen the launch of Sliver Cottage this year, a restaurant that honours traditional Sichuan flavours and revitalizing Song style and elegance.
Sliver Cottage epitomises Zhou’s culinary philosophy and strives to recreate a hidden land of peace for her diners. By restoring the charm of Song dynasty’s rich culinary culture, Sliver Cottage provides a perfect hideaway from the hustle and bustle of the city life, allowing guests to enjoy a laid-back dining experience in the immersive environment and leaving behind a unique memory of Song-style Sichuanese flavours where every bite lives up to the visual promise.
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