By Cuisine2 Minutes
June 21, 2021By Cuisine

While this is the book of Mister Jiu’s, the Michelin-starred restaurant in San Francisco’s Chinatown, it is also the book of Brandon Jew, who trained as a classic European chef and worked in Italian restaurants. While his childhood was defined by the Chinese cookery of his Ying Ying (his grandmother), his professional career saw him perfecting the cuisines of the Mediterranean. It wasn’t until Ying Ying became ill at the age of 79 that he realised his need to not only create a record of her cookery, but also to put down Alain Ducasse and pick up Ken Hom and Florence Lin.

Brandon bought a one-way ticket to Shanghai, where he soon discovered that the Chinese cookery he grew up with had been adapted by migrants to what was available in their new homeland – and that this American- Cantonese cookery was barely representative of the eight great cuisines of China, or a culinary tradition that celebrates 24 seasons rather than four.

Many of the recipes in the book suggest a time frame that seems a little daunting. I don’t see myself making the liberty roast duck, a dish that requires you to plan ahead for 10–14 days to allow time for curing and making the 10-spice, and that to complete it I will at some point need a bicycle pump. On the other hand, the orange chicken wings recipe takes a good two to three hours, again for brining, but also to reduce the orange sauce. Double the sauce recipe to save time on the next batch – once you taste the dish, you’ll be planning a repeat.

The recipes of Mister Jiu’s are defined by Brandon’s journey, his Chinese-American roots and his fine- dining chef background, all the while remaining true to the classic cuisines of China. FELICITY O’DRISCOLL