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The names of the 20 emerging designers selected by Vogue Italia to pair up with the S.Pellegrino Young Chef 2015 finalists have finally been announced. Each designer will reinterpret the work of their team-mate through a fashion creation inspired by the chef’s dish, in an unprecedented fusion of fine food and style.
Here is the interview with China region finalists: chef Zhu Wenyuan and fashion designer Xiao Li.
|What inspires the aesthetics of your creations?||What inspires the aesthetics of your creations?|
Aesthetics is not an innate thing, but something I cultivate through experience and learning. When I was a kid, I loved painting and art. This love has helped me to innovate on the colours and formats of dishes.
My life experience and contemporary art.
|How do colours and textures influence your creations?||How do colours and textures influence your creations?|
A good dish must have its own soul. The soul comes from the chef. You have your own personality and world view, and then you discover that the dishes you make embody your personal style, in terms of taste, colour, and presentation. The most important thing is to be yourself as you explore different dishes.
Colors and textures are always very important in my collection. Sometime textures are the starting point.
|How would you describe your creative style?||How would you describe your creative style?|
Creative style tends to change. Maybe you just imitate others when you are in your 20s? Five years ago, I started to learn cooking philosophies and new styles from foreign masters. Now I’ve started to look inside myself and think about my own cooking experience. I don’t have a fixed style, but I’m sure I’ll be better tomorrow, and better each day.
||Avant Garde: I always try to bring new material and develop new technic in my collection.|
|Is there any influence of your country's traditions, culture or materials in your creative work?||Is there any influence of your country's traditions, culture or materials in your creative work?|
The dishes in my restaurant are inspired by my childhood. My own studies indicate that the taste preferences of a person are formed by the age of 8. I like exploring my childhood memories as a path towards culinary innovation. I want to find the earliest, purest, and best tastes in life.
||Not really, but people always say my works are cute, so maybe “cute” is trendy for Chinese girls.|
|What food would you happily die eating?||What food would you happily die eating?|
Fried noodles Shanghai style, fried Shepherd's-purse with rice cake, and fried rice with soy sauce.
|The first top fashion designer that comes to mind?||The first top chef that comes to your mind?|
|If your cuisine was something to wear, what would it be?||If your creations were a dish, what would it be?|
It would be a piece of brightly coloured clothing.
|What ingredient would you never eat, and why?||What item of fashion would you never wear, and why?|
I don’t like anything stinky or strange. You have so many normal ingredients to choose from, why eat the odd stuff?
||I have my own style but I open mind to all different kinds of fashion Items.|
|What’s the first thing you’ll do upon arriving in Milan next June?||What’s the first thing you’ll do upon arriving in Milan next June?|
Take pictures and share them on social networks; eat a lot, etc. Just the typical stuff a tourist would do. But the most important thing is to win the competition, otherwise I’ll feel ashamed about going back empty-handed.
||Visit 10 Corso Como and have some nice Italian food.|
|What do you expect from this challenge?||What do you expect from this challenge?|
|Of course, I want to be the champion. Well, let’s wait and see. This is life. If you stay at one place for too long, you tend to lose the bigger picture, even in a big metropolis like Shanghai. I wish to travel and see the world. A bigger scope is a good way to improve your cooking skills – my personal secret to success.||New experience.|
Xiao Li's interview was conducted by Vogue.it