celebrities, and they all love your food. What are your secret ingredients?’ He answered only this, ‘Always be clean and hygienic, always use the best local ingredients, and always be passionate and respectful’. I wasn’t quite sure at that time, but now I realise what the meaning of it was, and that is also our slogan of Red Wall team now.’ ‘He is more like a teacher in my life and my career has certainly been in uenced by my Grandfather. When I was 17, I travelled to Germany to build my skills in western cuisine. Over two years, I learned a lot about European cooking, and this era had a big impact on my career. It’s more about the classic and the modern twist.’ How have you transitioned the original re es o re e lo al rod e a d modern times? ‘As mentioned, ‘always use the best ingredients.’ When we design the menu and are doing the food tasting, it’s really tough but full of excitement; there is a lot of hard work done behind every degustation menu. Firstly, we have to consider what is the best and the freshest ingredients in season. Secondly, we think about the origin of the ingredient, why and where we choose the certain ingredients e.g. when we chose the lamb for our main course, I (Kevin) went to several farms to find the best lamb for Red Wall 1939. The interesting thing about the farm I found, is that it’s just beside the ocean, and you can taste the grass that lamb eats. I was told because of this special location, the grass has a naturally salty taste and that’s why the lamb is slightly salty. That really impressed me, and now that lamb has become one of our signature dishes in the Red Wall degustation menu. I was always joking but it’s true that every season we change the menu, all of us (team) will gain some weight as we keep changing, keep approving, keep tasting, every single dish which is actually tested and adjusted many times behind the scenes and it’s full of my heart and soul.’ Like your grandfather, do you have a signature dish? ‘Actually, I designed all the courses for the degustation menu as they all had my consideration and creativity behind them. For this summer degustation menu, I would say Oolong Tea Braised Fresh Crayfish with Oolong Noodle and Crispy Chinese Golden onuts which is my hero dish Crayfish,
hand-made Oolong noodle, hand-made fried donuts, water chestnuts, Zealong Tea, Sesame seeds). The cooking method of this dish was the Braised Prawns that my grandfather made when I was a kid, the taste always reminding me of my sweet childhood. I combine the beautiful NZ local ingredients with that authentic cooking skill and a slight twist. We select the crayfish from the Chatham Islands, and the organic oolong tea from Zealong estate Hamilton. We use crayfish broth and oolong tea to beautifully braise the crayfish, while the hand-made oolong noodle and Chinese dough sticks just balance the texture and absorb the avour from the crayfish. It’s definitely a signature dish for this summer menu and we got lots of good reviews on that dish from customers.’ What local produce have you been enjoying the most to cook with? ‘Apart from being so impressed with all the fresh vegetables and fruits and water in New Zealand, I have also been loving all the divine seafood. For our degustation menu, we use the Ora king salmon from Marlborough sounds, the Crayfish from Chatham Islands, super fresh, super clean and melt in the mouth with our secret sauces.’ What experience will New Zealanders who a ro se o r res a ra fi d a d ers from any other Chinese restaurant?
Rose Gardens represent. Each piece of the 8,700 collection is bespoke and crafted by Jian Ping G exclusively for The Red Wall. Jian and team consultant Yuan Hong Qi, from the Forbidden City ensure the correct protocols are in place and practices adhered and authentic. They combined tradition and custom with modernity whilst also working with New Zealand designer Mao Sheng Cai who showcased moody greys to capture the cloudy mountains. The menu style is a Chinese State banquet full of fragrant avours, offering savoury, sesame and sweet plus sachima pastry and Osmanthus. This is an authentic eight course degustation meal using recipes that are thousands of years old. With modern twists this feast doesn’t disappoint, tantalising all the areas of the tongue and taste buds’ pleasures, leaving you speechless, full and in awe. The chefs use the very best of local ingredients to create exclusive state banquet recipes that have been handed down from the Forbidden Palace exclusively to the Red Wall co-founders. They also offer a traditional Chinese High Tea and a lunch service all of which require a high standard of dress. They can cater for up to 70 cocktail guests for private functions and also have a VIP meeting room, styled in the vein of Mao’s study. We ask Kevin to elaborate on this:
‘We want to deliver a unique dining experience which people can’t get anywhere else in the country. Red Wall’s stunning degustation dinner menu is in uenced by the eight main styles of cuisine in China, from North to South. Recipes from State Banquets, Mao’s favourite dishes and a number of historic Forbidden Palace recipes are featured.
What was the idea behind creating a replica of Mao’s study?
The Red Wall experience is about elegant surroundings, quality local ingredients, unique Chinese cooking methods, avours and textures, and authentic presentation, with great matching wine, or tea if that’s preferred. We hope our guests will enjoy a unique and special dining experience with dishes that are steeped in Chinese history.’
my grandfather served the food for him in this room. Chairman Mao taught my grandfather some Chinese character writing in the study room as well so for my grandfather, this place was full of memory’.
The Restaurant is breath taking and the details are personal, steeped in history and opulent. The porcelain is silver ash and hand painted in bright green, blue and gold. Inspired from a famous song Dynasty 960-1127, ‘A thousand miles of rivers and mountains’ by Wang Ximeng. It speaks of harmony and balance, a lot like what the
‘When we designed the Mao’s study, that was also considered to be a part of the restaurant detail. My grandfather served Chairman Mao and his family for over 22 years, during which most of the time, Chairman Mao was reading books in his study room after working, and sometimes,
Do you need to know Chinese ingredients to e a le o order o fide e ‘There are many Asian restaurants in Auckland with different types of cuisine and price ranges but there is no Chinese fine dining. The impression for Chinese cuisine can be ‘big plate, too much oil. No presenting’ but I don’t think that is the whole perception of Chinese Cuisine. We had lots of top grade restaurants in China.