China World Chaîne Day
Taipei (Taiwan), April 25, 2020
Lorin Young's memories of his day in Taipei
" we set out to have our very own special World Chaîne Day dinner at home "

2020 no doubt will go down as a year filled with memories both good and bad for many of us. Travelling to Taipei from my Shanghai home this February I was looking forward to celebrating Chinese New Year with my parents and in-laws.

The days quickly evolved from one of celebration to a daily binge of the COVID-19 pandemic news that had started to engulf the world’s economies resulting in a global lockdown and tragedies for families around the world. Celebrations were not something to be considered unless it was within the confines of your home or in a virtual world that had started to become the new reality for many of us.

As the days passed World Chaîne Day was fast approaching and our Bailli Délégué, Alan Wong, was keen that we celebrated despite the lockdown situation. The theme of “Cooking with Family and Sharing it Globally” was a natural for these times.

Members were encouraged to cook either a Western or Chinese three course menu with detailed recipes. What a great competition and fun idea! Although physically in Taiwan I was eager to participate given that I am Conseiller Gastronomique of China. I chose to prepare what I thought was the harder of the two menus, the Western.

MENU

Salmon rillettes
brioche crouton, avocado puree

Traditional beef Wellington
Madeira sauce, mashed potato

Dark chocolate tart
fresh strawberries

With my wife Liza (Vice-Chargée de Missions Honoraire of Shanghai) and Officier Albert Changanghai (both of whom had left their ribbons in Shanghai), we were joined by Cathay, an old friend and true foodie who we had known from our years of living in Hong Kong.

Together, with our principal guests (my mother and my in-laws) we set out to have our very own special World Chaîne Day dinner at home.

Searching for the ingredients started the week before. Salmon rillettes proved the easiest, dark chocolate tart not too bad either. As an unseasoned chef the real challenge was the main course. Eventually I sourced all the ingredients except beef stock. Liza came to the rescue and made it from scratch. We found the Madeira wine in a very good Portuguese restaurant.

Come World Chaîne Day, having made the dessert the night before I designated Liza to make the salmon rillettes, while I focused on the beef Wellington which went fairly well. The detailed recipes circulated by the Bailliage of China were essential together with a couple of YouTube videos which were a big help!

Looking back, the beef Wellington should have been wrapped tighter. I am still trying to figure out why so much gravy oozed out when we cut it open. Steep learning curves for a home chef for sure. Liza’s homemade Madeira sauce beef stock made the dish taste heavenly. Honestly though it was good fun. Our parents thoroughly enjoyed the whole experience.

The wines:
- 2002 Vintage Moët et Chandon for the aperitif
- 2016 Kistler California Chardonnay with the salmon rillettes
- 2010 La Fleur de Bouard, Lalande-de-Pomerol with the beef

Kistler are well known for their chardonnays, buttery it washed down nicely the oils in the salmon rillettes. From an excellent vintage the voluptuous, medium-bodied Lalande-de-Pomerol complemented the beef Wellington perfectly. The finale of a not-too-sweet chocolate tart made with 70% cocoa also found a perfect companion in the red wine.

This was the first time I had tried to undertake such a dinner with the help of my wife Liza. We had a wonderful evening enjoying a delicious meal, most importantly sharing a memorable family experience courtesy of World Chaîne Day.

Lorin Young
Conseiller Gastronomique