A friend called.
"He died !", he said.
I knew who he was talking about. A cook. The cook of a chinese restaurant in Hamburg, Germany.
The man who, with his brother serving the guests, would never create anything but
the perfect meal. Now - don't misunderstand me - I am no talking about Sweet and
nor any other dish so popular with Europeans. I am talking Duck Soup with Ginger
Chicken baked in Salt
, Northern Style Dumplings
, Lobster in Pepper Sauce
. Those - and many
more incredible dishes.
This man died today.
You would call a week in advance. "I want to come on Saturday, with six people."
No details, as you would leave the menu selection to him.
You would arrive at six -
and if you were early, leave by midnight. Then, you would wait for an opportunity to
visit again. And again.
About 25 years ago, his brother introduced me to Dim Sum. Working for a different restaurant, of course.
Some years ago, his brother would join him in Hamburg and they would open Chung Quong. Never too
popular with the locals, too unknown for the gastro scene people. Hard times for them, but they managed.
Why do I mourn a cook ?
Because he was more than that. He was a teacher in chinese culture, a medical advisor, in a way a friend.
I do not know his name, but I miss him.
His brother will not re-open the restaurant.