Fine dining is more than just a meal—it’s an experience. While some restaurants present an experience via the decor or theming of the menu, the new restaurant from Chinese Master Chef Guo Wenjun takes diners on a journey through the space and the menu combined. Chef Guo has been trained in the culinary art of Chinese Imperial Cuisine with over 40 years of experience and accolades, including Elite Master of the Chinese Culinary Arts and awards, including a Gold Medal at the Asia Cuisine Competition. We talked with Irene Qin, the Director of Operations for Chef Guo, about the culinary experience diners will enjoy when the restaurant opens next week. “We hope our diners will not only enjoy the authentic Chinese food by Chef Guo but also have an experience with Chinese culture,” Qin told us. “We believe our culture is part of our dining experience, especially in our unique dining room atmosphere.”
A Look at Chef Guo in New York City
While you may have tried upscale Chinese cuisine in the past, the culinary art from Chef Guo is truly unique. “Healthy Royal Cuisine Culinary System was created by Chef Guo: the elegance of flavor, the brilliance of color, one with the way of nature, spreading the essence of Chinese culture with the world,” Qin explained. “The flavor is the priority; nutrition is the essential, nature is the basis. Healthy, Green, Organic, balance in both flavor and nutrition.”
Each course was meant to complement the meal in a specific order, and some courses were designed to be eaten in specific directions so that diners could enjoy the flavors in order. “The menu is centered on balance, flavor, nutrition, moderation and fuses ancient Chinese cooking,” Qin said of the menu. “It was curated based on natural food material, color, shape, season, nutrition, a story from Chinese culture, etc., also open to western food material, some modern vision of some Traditional Chinese dish.”
The tasting menu includes nineteen courses—three of which are tea courses that aid in the culinary journey. “The first course of tea is the silver needle, white in color, shape as needle, taste clean & refreshing, increase appetite, so it’s before meal tea. 2nd course of tea is the big red rope; the aroma is fragrant, high and long-lasting; the taste is smooth & mild. It will cleanse the palate and get along with each dish. The last tea is ripe Pu’er (not raw), the aroma is woody & high, taste mellow and smooth, it helps digest the food, so it’s an after-meal tea,” Qin explained.
Sommelier Max Tierno curated an exclusive seven-piece wine pairing to complement the meal. Wines include R. Geoffroy Expression Champagne, Heitz Cabernet Sauvignon and Grgich Hills Estate Chardonnay. “The wine pairing was designed to pair the menu and start from sparkling, white, red, sweet,” Qin told us. “The different types of white & red are carefully selected based on the specification of each dish. For example, a full body red pairs with wagyu beef. A crispy clean sparkling sweet pairs with the fruit of longevity.”
Part of the culinary journey includes the intricately designed space that was customized for the experience. “As for our culinary system and healthy menu, the dining space was rooted in Chinese culture as well. There’s Bian Zhong (ancient instrument, bronze chimes bell), a Wooden plaque with Orchid Pavilion Preface (one of the most mysterious & famous calligraphy masterpieces), an artificial ginkgo tree made by Chef Guo himself representing healthy & long life, Stone horse pillars with PiQiu (the youngest son among dragon’s nine sons) welcomes guest in the front,” Qin said. “Romantic, not luxurious, elegant & historical. There’s a story; also, there’s culture! In the end, authentic, healthy culinary food combined with Chinese culture created a completely unique dining experience in Chef Guo Restaurant.”