Tasteful menu serves domestic treats

The chef (right) prepares his distinctive menu.[Photo provided to China Daily]

Chinese pancake, or jianbing, is one of the most common breakfast foods in northern China. Usually filled with ingredients like crispy donuts, chili paste, vegetables and eggs, this nearly ubiquitous dish rarely creates a social media storm.

That’s exactly what French chef Corentin Delcroix does for his beloved snack. times so far.

But how does his version differ? It’s packed with cheese, ham, pickles and black truffle mayonnaise — ingredients typically found in French pancakes, which Delcroix says aren’t all that different from Chinese pancakes.

The Frenchman is no stranger to many local foodies. His other posts on Sina Weibo that document his attempts to cook up local dishes like pork-stuffed fried buns and Shanghai vegetable rice have been well received.

Born in Douai, a town in northern France, Delcroix wears more than a chef’s hat. With 1.3 million subscribers on Sina Weibo, nearly 1.4 million subscribers on the video-sharing platform Douyin and nearly 460,000 on the short video platform Bilibili, he can be considered an influencer of the social media in China.

He is also the founder of Black Olive, a company that helps create new and original dishes for restaurants and food businesses. Its customers include Wanchai Ferry, Lacesar Pizzaria, Dr Cheese and Ikea.

Delcroix’s fascination with Chinese cuisine began in 2002 while studying business administration in Beijing. After learning how to prepare some of the popular local dishes, Delcroix found himself intrigued by the differences between Chinese and French cuisines. He noted that the former had a more complex preparation process and a big emphasis on heat control. French cuisine, on the other hand, was more rhythmic than spicy.

“The first Chinese dish I learned to cook was scrambled eggs with tomatoes,” says Delcroix, who is married to a Shanghai resident. “But my favorites are baked wheat foods like dumplings and steamed stuffed buns.”

This experience not only whetted his appetite, it convinced him to become a chef. After graduating, Delcroix returned to France to learn the culinary arts. In 2010, he went to Shanghai where he worked as a chef in the restaurant of the France Rhône-Alpes pavilion at the 2010 Universal Exhibition before becoming a professor at the Shanghai branch of the famous Institut Paul Bocuse culinary school.

Three years ago, Delcroix decided to share his favorite Chinese and French dishes on social media. Several of his posts show him preparing dishes that marry elements of both cuisines. For example, he recently created a terracotta rice with black truffle and beef marrow, and candied vegetables with foie gras.

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