Mr. Chow’s Symphony

The Eccentric Restaurateur Reveals His Search for Perfection

Famed for his signature keyhole spectacles, schoolboy haircut and staccato manner, food world legend Mr. Chow invites filmmaker Alison Chernick into his kitchen. Ever since being introduced to a swinging 60s London, Mr. Chow’s iconic restaurants in New York and Beverly Hills have remained A-list hotspots, and his empire extends to Miami, Las Vegas and London. For decades he has served high-end Chinese cuisine via Italian waiters, accompanied by French wine and without a chopstick in sight to an endless list of stars—from Marlene Dietrich and Frank Sinatra, through Mick Jagger and Jackie O, to George Clooney and Gwyneth Paltrow. Celebrity guests dine surrounded by the proprietor’s collection of world-class contemporary art, including Warhols, Basquiats, Hockneys and Mapplethorpes. Son to one of China’s biggest stars, Zhou Xinfang, an actor in the Peking Opera, Mr. Chow’s sartorial and artistic precision struggle to contain the powerhouse of charisma and bravado that has placed him center stage among the world’s elite. “I found myself in boot camp, then realized this is a day in the life of Camp Chow,” says Chernick. “Obsessive perfectionism and underlying charm feed the phenomenon of Mr. Chow.” To recreate the star-dusted experience chez Chow, we offer a recipe right off the menu.

Mr. Chow's Beijing Chicken

  • Fresh chicken breast (cut into cubes)
  • Bean sauce 
  • 2 tsp sugar
  • 8 pieces glazed roasted walnuts (whole)
  • 2 tbsp hot chicken stock
  • 1 egg
  • 2 tbsp vegetable oil
  • 2 tbsp water
  • ½ tsp salt
  • 1 tsp sesame seed oil
  • 4 cups vegetable oil

To marinate chicken

  1. Mix cubed chicken with egg whites, two teaspoons of vegetable oil, salt and water to marinate the chicken.

To cook

  1. Deep fry the marinated chicken 70% (make sure chicken doesn't stick together). Drain the oil from chicken and put it aside. 
  2. Heat the wok with one teaspoon of vegetable oil until medium hot and add bean sauce, sugar, chicken stock and sesame seed oil. Sauté until the sauce thickens.  
  3. Add Chicken and sauté quickly under a high heat. Add Sesame seed oil and toss in walnuts to finish.

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Conversations (2)

  • Stelfox
    10 minute expert? Hmm. I think he meant William Blake the poet, not Peter Blake the pop artist. Nevertheless I would very much like to try his duck. Yum.
    • Posted By Stelfox
    • September 02, 2012 at 5:30PM
    • Share Comment:
  • adrianv
    • Posted By adrianv
    • December 21, 2011 at 4:55PM
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