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Chop Chop owner brings award winning recipes to Bield’s Midlothian tenants
The founder and chef of one of Scotland’s most popular Chinese restaurants is now raising a storm of elderly tenants.
Jian Wang61, who previously owned successful Chop Chop restaurants and was praised by TV chef Gordon Ramsay for making the best dumplings he had ever tasted, has taken on the role of casual cook at Bield’s Whitehill Lodge in Dalkeith.
A finalist on Gordon Ramsay’s TV show The F Word, Gyan was forced to close its three branches in Edinburgh and Glasgow in 2020 due to the impact of Covid-19.
After moving to Scotland from north-eastern China in 1997, Jian was committed to incorporating the region’s wonderful food into all her projects – including her world-famous dumplings. The tenants of Whitehill Lodge were quick to praise the various delicacies on offer since Gian’s arrival.
She said: “Taking on the role of a casual cook last November was a really easy decision for me because I love working with seniors and helping put a smile on their faces with nutritious food.
“As we get older, things can change quickly, but one thing that isn’t is our ability to taste. This gives me the drive to put my all in every dish and make sure all the meals I serve are tailored to the preferences of my tenants.”
“For example, I wanted to incorporate the much-loved dumplings from Chop Chop into the menu at Bield. Instead of making them fried, I made them boiled so that they would be softer and easier for the tenants to enjoy.”
Some of the tenants’ favorite dishes include sweet ribs, dumplings, and chicken curry—with Gian encouraging notes after each session.
Before joining the development, Jian had never cooked anything other than Chinese food. Fortunately, Director of Development, Yvonne Boyle, was on hand to share tips and recipes with Jian. Ibn Jian also translated recipes such as mince pies, shepherd’s pie, and pork chops into Mandarin to allow them to be followed easily.
Jian also hosted tasting sessions to ensure a variety of Scottish, European and Chinese dishes were available to her tenants.
She added, “It was great learning these new recipes and I fell in love with different cuisines – I even started making them at home and introducing my own twist with different spices. My family is constantly asking me to make dishes again and again.”
Whitehill Lodge is a Bield retirement home with meals serving two home cooked meals per day.
Yvonne Boyle, Director of Development at Bield, said: “Jeanne is a breath of fresh air in development and her talent is incredible.
The tenants love her food and the feedback is always great. Jian puts her heart into everything she does and has taken the time to get to know each tenant to understand their likes and dislikes.
“We are very fortunate to have Jian with us at Whitehill Lodge and look forward to every meal she prepares.”
In addition to Jian’s culinary talents, she is also an avid violinist. She graduated from the Northeast China Folk Music Academy in 1984 with a degree in music and has played in several orchestras over the years.
Before Chop Chop closed its doors after 15 years, during which time it was a favorite venue for a number of celebrity chefs, winning accolades including being a finalist in the Scottish Restaurant Awards. It was also one of the few Chinese restaurants in the UK to be awarded an AA Rosette.
Jian continues to run a successful food company – Chop Chop Frozen – that has been in business for over 24 years and employs 50 employees. The business supplies dumplings and other Chinese-style dishes to 50 Chinese stores across the country as well as other restaurants and large supermarkets including Lidl and Aldi.
Bield is a registered charity dedicated to providing flexible, high-quality housing solutions and support for older people. Bield Housing and Care has around 180 projects across Scotland.
For more information on pensioner accommodation with meal service visit: https://www.bield.co.uk/retirement-housing-with-meals/
To find out more about Bield please visit https://www.bield.co.uk/our-services/ or follow them on Facebook @bieldhousingandcare and Twitter @BieldScotland