A Cambridge College is responding to the growing number of Chinese students and visitors by co-authoring a book in conjunction with the UK’s leading university catering organisation.

Bill Brogan, Catering and Conference Manager at St John’s College has worked with TUCO (The University Caterers’ Organisation) to create an 88-page ‘Practical Guide To Chinese Food’ which gives catering departments in universities and colleges help to cook authentic Chinese dishes.

Bill says: “Changes in the food and beverage offering on campus have undergone a revolution in recent years to reflect the tastes of our customers. This is certainly in evidence in Cambridge where we have seen a huge increase in the number of Chinese students and visitors, particularly those attending conferences and also staying in College as a B&B guest.

“The idea for this Guide followed a TUCO Study Tour to China in 2015 after which the delegation felt it was important to share their culinary insights and experiences with catering colleagues across the UK. They visited five universities during the trip to view catering operations.

“I was delighted to take the lead in selecting the final shortlist of recipes with China specialist Jinzhao Li, settling on dishes that represented a cross-section of the nation’s food.”

The Guide features 23 illustrated recipes chosen as practical dishes to be delivered in UK university kitchens for significant numbers. Dishes include: Sichuan Twice Cooked Pork With Wood Ears; Braised Aubergine With Chilli and Potatoes; Tofu Mixed With Chopped Spring Onion; Stir-Fried Lotus Roots With Pork and Tofu; and Steamed Pumpkin With Minced Pork Shoulder.

The full-colour publication also encompasses a quick guide to Chinese ingredients and details of Chinese foods to serve at Chinese festivals through the year.

The dishes were recreated at the University of Birmingham by Executive Chefs: Mark Houghton, University of Birmingham; Graham Crump, University of Warwick; Rob Bean, Leicester University; and Aaron Tong, Exeter University.

Bill concludes: “Whilst the Guide’s primary audience is chefs and catering managers at universities and colleges, we hope it will also be relevant to those working in the pubic sector at schools, hospitals and local authorities. There’s a great deal to learn from looking at catering operations in other sectors and other countries – I’ve just returned from a fact-finding trip looking at coffee shop trends in Beijing, Chengdu and Chongquing to see what we can introduce here.”

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