I grew up devouring books by Enid Blyton — short-form stories about life in the quaint countryside; fairy tales about generational heirlooms; pottering around the living room with the “good” China for esteemed dinner guests. It was always such a fascination for me, but I’d never really had the chance to experience it in person myself. Until now.
Theresa Mak, better known in the popular realm as Dashijie, has penned over 300 Chinese recipes and is one of our city’s most recognizable local gastronomes. She began her culinary journey honing her skills under Cantonese cuisine expert Pearl Kong Chen in the 1970s, becoming the first of Kong’s students, hence her title “Dashijie” — The First Disciple.
Mak is renowned for hosting exquisite private dinner parties at her residence, as well as her eponymous brand offering gourmet Cantonese products including a range of Chinese New Year cakes, mooncakes and sauces.
“I only want to create high-quality products that I will eat myself,” she says. “Regardless of cost, I only choose the finest ingredients to cook with. Everything is made in Hong Kong using traditional methods with no corners cut. I hope that when people eat my food, they can feel the true ‘taste of home’.”
Four years ago, Mak reached out to Desmond Chang, founder of fine tablewear brand Ruyi Gastronomy, to create custom-designed pieces specifically to suit her style of Cantonese cooking. Instead, he pushed back with the idea to create an entire line that he hopes would benefit the wider audience; delicate, meticulous, yet practical pieces that would stand the test of time, irrevocably elevating one’s home banquet experience.
Mak and Chang’s collaborative vision was born amidst gentle swaths of dusty pink, Chinese peonies and hand-drawn fluttering butterflies; a 49-piece collection that encapsulates and pays tribute to Cantonese fine cuisine and both parties’ dedication to their respective craft. A marriage of talents.
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