Singapore: Great Grandson of Empress Dowager’s Personal Chef Gets Lifetime Achievement Award

Food and Beverage

Executive Chef Ivan Li, great grandson of the personal chef of the Empress Dowager, was honoured on 24 March 2014 at Asia’s 50 Best Restaurants Awards in Singapore, receiving a Lifetime Achievement Award.

 Ivan-Li-Chinese-Chef

Executive Chef Ivan Li, Co-owner of Family Li Imperial Cuisine in Beijing, China. Photo Credit: Diners Club.

Executive Chef Ivan Li, Co-owner of Family Li Imperial Cuisine in Beijing, China. Photo Credit: Asia's 50 Best Restaurants.

Talk about a chef that can cook food that's fit for an empress!

The Empress Dowager, a.k.a. Cixi, ruled China from 1861 until her death in 1908. Known for her decadent lifestyle, she famously used money that was supposed to fund China's navy to have a marble houseboat built for herself .

Her Majesty must have been a pretty tough diner to cook for!

But despite the Monarch's expensive tastes, one of her favourite dishes was beggar's chicken, a yummy dish with rather humble origins. I've tried it several times in Hangzhou, and I can assure you: it is DELICIOUS!

Would beggar's chicken be among Chef Ivan's repertoire by any chance?

Family Li Imperial Cuisine

Co-owner of Family Li Imperial Cuisine in Beijing, China, Chef Ivan is the great grandson of Li Shunqing, who oversaw the imperial kitchen in the Forbidden City during the Empress Dowager's reign.

After retiring from the royal court, Li recorded details of the imperial menu, writing down both the ingredients and the cooking methods of the Empress Dowager’s favourite dishes. Ivan has spent his life trying to keep these traditions alive.

Which explains, I guess, why he got the award!

Asia's 50 Best Restaurants Awards were sponsored by S. Pellegrino & Acqua Panna and organized by William Reed Business Media. They were held at the Capella Hotel, Singapore. 

 

 

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