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Wen Yi: Cooking with joy
    2010-08-10 13:25:37     CRIENGLISH.com

If you were to mention the name Wen Yi to anyone who loves cooking in China, they would probably get very excited. She has many titles: cook of beauty, food photographer, and author of best-selling cooking books. With a warm smile on her face, she always says that cooking is as important as her lover.

How did she come to be so talented with food? What makes her different from other cooks? Let's follow Zhang Cheng to discover the love story of Wen Yi and her cooking.

Wen Yi is in her class,smiling widely. [photo:cribeyondbeijing.com]

Here in northeastern Beijing, in Wang Jing Residential District, building NO.2, room 1001, people are busy preparing materials for the lesson on making egg cakes. They are mixing milk, powder and eggs together in a bowl as if they are playing a beautiful cooking melody. Among them is Wen Yi, the teacher of this cooking class. Having formed a close relationship with cooking over almost ten years, she says cooking is as important as her family.

Wen Yi is now in her thirties. When she graduated from university, she found a job in a foreign funded company just like many others. However, she did not feel very happy at that time, because she didn't enjoy the work. The only reason she didn't quit was her good salary. Although she lived a comfortable life, sometimes she felt a little lost.

The turning point of her life occurred in 2002, when she went to Paris with her husband, who was sent to work there. After she returned two years later, she decided she would never again work in a white-collar job.

"Though I didn't like working in that profession, I had never thought about being a food expert. In my opinion, cooking was something that belongs to middle aged or poor women. Even after I got married, I cooked only a few times. However, in Paris, it is difficult to find a Chinese restaurant. And if you are lucky enough to find places offering Chinese food, all of them are expensive and taste awful. So I had to cook for my husband and myself in order to satisfy our appetites."

Maybe life in Paris was a chance for her to discover her talent. From a small oven in her flat in Paris, she started her adventure with food. She says she had never known that an oven could make such wonderful and tasty food, like cakes and biscuits. After this successful attempt, she completely fell in love with cooking.

At the time, Wen Yi was still a young girl, and she only considered cooking as one of her hobbies, and she never thought that some time later, she would become a person who made her living through cooking.

"My life in Paris was so beautiful that I gave up the idea of finding a job when I came back to China. I enjoy taking photos so I started my blog in 2004. Every time I cooked some dishes, I photographed them and posted the pictures to my website in the hope of sharing those beautiful dishes with my friends."

In 2007, Wen Yi joined China Central Television to host a program called "Daily Dishes"(ʳ), then in 2008 she hosted another food program on Beijing Television. Now she has at least three different jobs: writing a food column for 20 magazines, teaching cooking classes, and selling cooking supplies on a website. In addition, she has publishes five cooking books per year, and she has founded a group which will donate money and cook for low-income people in rural areas once every month. She says she has never made any plans for her life, all these things she is involved in today came because of others' requests.

"Someone saw my food pictures on my blog and asked me whether I would like to be a column writer, and I said yes; some one found my article in a magazine and hoped that I would host a show and I agreed. People saw me on TV and asked me to hold classes and I thought, 'why not?' After taking my courses, my students said they would like to have the same kitchen equipment as me so I opened my shop on the internet. I took all these steps to fill people's needs. "
Wen Yi has a very cute nickname from one of her students: Da Tou which means "big head." Every student likes her because of her kindness. She is like a sister telling you how to make delicious food and how to protect yourself when cooking. Her cooking students cover a wide range, from the kids who are still in kindergarten to white collar professionals; even men are coming here to learn how to make yummy recipes. Most of them come to her class because they admire Wen Yi's sincerity in cooking.

Wen Yi says she is lucky to find her talent and her love. Whenever she sees food, ways to create delicious food comes to her. Cooking is something she will never stop doing.

For CRI, I'm Zhang Cheng.



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