Swizz Beatz

2 Stories

Ching He Huang

Eat Clean

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Ching He Huang is probably the best known Chinese TV chef in the world. Massively popular in Britain where she lives in London with her husband, actor Jamie Cho, she’s credited for integrating Chinese dishes into British households. She authored a number of best-selling cookbooks and her winning combination of good looks and effervescent personality has made her a natural for television. She appears in the US on the Cooking Channel, hosting the shows, Chinese Food Made Easy and Easy Chinese: San Francisco. Her latest cookbook is Eat Clean: Wok Yourself To Health which celebrates all natural, non-processed, nutrient dense Chinese cooking featuring ingredients not often showcased in her previous books and TV shows — coconut oil, seaweed, pomegranate, wheat free tamari, turmeric, raw nuts, miso paste and more. Says Ching, “To eat healthy, you have to eat clean. Clean foods are unprocessed, free from artificial chemicals, fertilizers, additives, non-GMO, organic. Nothing that’s been tampered with. Pure from mother nature.” The book is a direct result of her struggles with food allergies which tied into her self-image on camera and the discovery that in order to overcome them she had to reinvent her own diet and lifestyle.



JEFF VASISHTA: You’re probably the most well known Chinese food chef in the world at the moment. What do you attribute your success to? Great food, great marketing or both?



CHING HE HUANG: That’s very generous of you to say. I like to think it’s because I work really hard plus the food is good, of course!


JV: Whenever I’m back home in London, I can’t help but notice how different Chinese food is in Chinatown compared Chinatown in the New York. It smells and tastes quite different. I know there are many different types of Chinese food. Is it purely a regional thing?



CHH: The food is never quite the same due to the ingredients available and also the skills that are available. So the food in China is always slightly different to what you find in Chinatowns around the world. The very best reflection of the cuisine found in Chinatowns around the world coincides with the concentration of the most highly skilled Chinese chefs. We are lucky in London, as well as in New York, you have Flushing, which has some incredible chefs and some of the most authentic food found outside of China.



JV: You’ve had quite the international upbringing, being born in Taiwan and then living in S. Africa and London. How has that influenced what you do? How do you relate to different people, the food you make, etc?



CHH: I think living in different countries as a young child taught me how to adapt to new environments. It has influenced my outlook on life, there may be cultural differences living from one country to the next, but really we are all human and share the same concerns as any living being. The interactions and experiences shared through food has made me more appreciative of others and their values, and allowed me to develop my own.
JV: Do you have to modify what you do in Britain for the American market?



CHH: I have had to adapt some recipes but ultimately as a cook it has always been about making dishes that are delicious no matter the country or place. I create recipes on the basis that I enjoy them and hope others will too.



JV: In your latest book, Eat Clean, you talk about your food allergies and how you have had to modify your diet. When did you first become aware of them?



CHH: My food allergies started in 2011, I suffered from allergies specifically, my skin would turn blotchy after eating shellfish or peanuts, however, later this would include foods from wines to pizza dough…
JV: You seem quite vocal in your advocacy of vegan food, but many of your dishes from past shows and books are meat dishes. How do you marry the two, both personally and professionally? Are you completely vegan now?


CHH: I’m no saint. We are not vegan, as it is hard to give up eggs, but we do buy organic. Yes, my books have been mainly meat dishes but I am doing a U-turn so 90% of what I eat is mainly vegetables and 10% is made up of meat and fish. We seem to have lost the balance. People used to consume less meat and now it’s virtually every day. The overconsumption is becoming unsustainable with food producers taking shortcuts. The problem is that much of our food has been altered (pesticides, GM, chemicals, hormones). I think many are concerned about this but feel helpless on a day to day basis as we all have to eat but we are not in control of the how food is produced. If we start growing food ourselves and being responsible in our choices, might there be hope for real long-term change?



JV: Are Chinese food critics harder on you than western ones because you’re cooking native dishes?



CHH: Some are; some aren’t. Aren’t all critics harsh? Isn’t that the nature of their job? In truth, we are all critics one way or another. My mother is my harshest critic!



JV: Is there a dish that you just can’t seem to master?



CHH: Yes, my grandmother’s Zong-Zi-sticky bamboo rice dumplings. No matter how hard I try, it just doesn’t taste like grandma’s!



Photography & Collage: Chaunte Vaughn for NeueJournal
Prop Styling: Rachel Stickley for NeueJournal

Faile to Succeed

The Brooklyn-based Artists Wax Lyrical About Their Latest Title, Works on Wood

7 Images
Open The Gallery
7 Images
Open The Gallery
7 Images
Open The Gallery

We caught up with Patrick McNeil and Patrick Miller of the Brooklyn-based art group FAILE to talk about their recent book Works on Wood, published by Gestalten. The ideas of form, temporality and appropriation have been a part of FAILE’s work since their early wheatpaste work. Needless to say, we were intrigued to see how the age old medium of wood plays into their ever evolving art.


You guys are well known for working with a wide range of materials and media: prints, paintings, salvaged materials, large-scale installations. Why did you decide to focus on wood for your latest book?
Our work tends to incorporate several different materials. I think we’ve always loved the physicality of different materials, especially when you find them in the city and they are being used for purposes other than what you would expect. Working on wood has been such a love over the years, from the street then into the studio, that it seemed something to celebrate. There is a clear lineage from our early street works to the studio paintings and sculptures on wood. Also we feel it’s some of our most original and unique work. The wood paintings and sculptural works developed more fully in our practice over time; they’re not something that was there from the beginning, so it’s a nice visual story of process and exploration to share.


What qualities and caveats does wood possess as an artistic medium?
The allure of wood is the surface and the durability of it. It’s a medium that you can really work with. You can beat it up. You can stand on it. You can sand it down. You can build with it. It has a living history. I think that’s the romance. The way we work with wood, it sort of becomes a part of the studio, physically and artistically over a period of time – and there’s a record of that through the work. The only real caveat, so far, is its weight. But we’re that much stronger because of it.


What has been your most challenging project to date?
For the FAILE Temple in Lisbon we created a 16ft x 30ft x 14ft ceramic, steel, marble, bronze and stone temple in decay, over the course of two years. We were the artists, architects, engineers and fabricators for that project, which tested us on many levels. But it came together nicely in the end. For the New York City Ballet we built a 40ft x 15ft x 15ft tower in four months. That was just painful. It was an all-out creative sprint to make that happen in the time it needed to. Which of course we did, but it was one of the hardest times on a physical level.


How has your work and creative process evolved over the last decade?
The foundation of how we create images is still the same. Which is really focused on looking at the past to find bits and pieces of that history and to create new narratives from that. The mediums have changed, the content has grown, the work (paintings and sculpture) has evolved visually, we’ve grown as people and family men – but I don’t know that the process has changed that much. I’m not sure if that’s a good or a bad thing. Images and painting are distinct things in the studio, so that makes it two paths and processes.


Who and what influences you from outside the art world (music, science, travel, theater, film etc)?
Radiohead, Joseph Campbell, NYC, the Midwest, religious structures, malls, quilts, Stanley Kubrick.


Who is your favorite fictional hero?
Clark W. Griswold and Inspector Clouseau.


Where are you most inspired, the studio or the street?
It’s a symbiotic relationship. Something on the street inspires something in the studio; something in the studio makes us see things on the street that we never saw before.


What has been your greatest failure?
Advanced Mathematics.


If you could have one super-power, what would it be?


What is your motto?
Faile to succeed.


Earlier this month FAILE joined Swizz Beatz at NeueHouse for a discussion on art, music and creativity.