Chef Zhou Yongle traces his family roots to China’s Hunan Province, where people enjoy their food with a spicy kick.
Who influenced the flavors you love today? For Zhou Yongle, it was his grandmother.
The chef grew up in an aristocratic family in Shanghai. They lived in a large house, and maids would constantly watch his back. “I felt annoyed as a kid,” he recalls. “The kitchen was my shelter from the adults.”
His grandmother was from Hunan, a province in central China famous for its spicy, punchy flavors. She was Zhou’s guide to appreciating good food.
“The food my grandmother ate was especially spicy,” he says. “I wanted to find out if it was because she had a strong palate or because the dish itself was supposed to be this way.”
The question led him to Hunan Province, to rediscover his family roots, meet his distant relatives, and learn the cooking techniques of his ancestors. Follow his journey in the video above.