Chefs on Sundays: Max Levy

The Louisianan Helming Beijing’s Top Restaurant Enjoys Home-Cooked Shoyu Chicken

In our new Chefs on Sundays series, I Love You magazine founder Marcus Gaab mixes still, stop-motion and live-action footage to illustrate how international chefs spend their day of rest and what they choose to cook when not in their restaurant kitchens. Aided by the food styling of longtime Irving Penn collaborator Victoria Granof, Gaab's narrations begin with Max Levy of Bei, the award-winning fine-dining restaurant in Beijing’s Opposite House hotel. At Bei, Levy combines inspiration and ingredients drawn from North Asian cuisines with elements of Creole cooking that reflect his Louisiana roots, plus skills honed while training in France and New York, and under some of Japan's most respected sushi chefs. Following a day spent perusing newspapers over breakfast, foraging in his own garden and bike riding through the city, Levy shares a customary Sunday supper of Shoyu chicken with tempura leaves and flowers, garnished with cucumber and shiso jello with his girlfriend. The dish epitomizes his ability to build culinary bridges between his American childhood and his current Eastern home.

Most honored to cook for
My mother, because she passed away before I really felt I had my own style; or Rem Koolhaas, because I love his philosophy on urban design and his book, Delirious New York.

Essential ingredients
Light Taiwanese soy sauce and good sea salt.

Potent aphrodisiac
For me, it would have to be sea urchin and crab together, although I have a vegan friend who swears by fermented tofu (go figure).

Cultural faux-pas
After drinking several cupfuls of Chinese white spirits at over 60% alcohol, it’s pretty easy to offend anyone, but your typical “Beijinger” doesn't hold grudges for too long, if at all.

Hangover cure
Campari and soda, and a baguette with fried eggs, chopped tomatoes, pancetta, chives and Tabasco.

Proudest culinary moment
Realizing that I can give vegans the same experience that everyone else has in Bei without salad.

American food most missed in China
Cheddar cheese.

For details on how to replicate Levy's Sunday meal of Shoyu chicken and tempura leaves, visit our Facebook page

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