Guo Yue interview – The revered musician and London restauranteur

The globally revered master of Chinese cookery, musician, author and restauranteur from London will bring his global cookery workshop to Rochdale’s Feel Good Festival on Saturday 20 August. 

Guo Yue is the author of ‘Music, Food and Love: A Memoir with Recipes’ and the award-winning children’s book ‘Little Leap Forward: A Boy in Beijing’ Guo gives demonstrations all over the world, often combining them with performances on his bamboo and white jade flutes. His unique approach to cooking and his uplifting philosophy that bridges old and new China, have led to appearances on radio and television and articles in The Daily Telegraph, The Guardian and Observer Food Monthly.

Discovered by Peter Gabriel (lead singer of infamous British rock band Genesis), Guo is a musician and chef in equal measure.  Growing up in Beijing during the Cultural Revolution, the talented guru is an outstanding soloist on the bamboo flute as well as a true master of Chinese cooking! Owner of The Bamboo Flute restaurant near Regent’s Park in London, Guo has worked on the soundtracks of several international films, including the Oscar-winning The Last Emperor and the theme for the Emmy award-winning Channel Four television documentary Beyond the Clouds. He’s also worked with artists including Peter Gabriel and ’. Guo cooks like a musician, with an emphasis on the colours, notes and rhythms that make up his collection of traditional and modern recipes.

Nee Hao Magazine caught up with Guo ahead of next month’s event. 

How did you meet Peter Gabriel?

I met Peter when I first landed in this country a long, long time ago.  I used to play my music in Covent Garden when I had just arrived – there I met the director of WOMAD (World Of Music Arts and Dance Festival) and Real World Records who went back and told Peter that he must get us to do a recording and play for WOMAD festival. Since that fortuitous moment I have traveled with Peter all over the world played my music to many different countries.

 When did you choose to combine music and food?

I have always loved music and food since I was a little boy. I think those two things are very similar; both very very artistic and both very creative. A few years ago I had a book published in many countries in different languages called music, food and love. It made me more connected with those parameters.

Tell us how your philosophy bridges old and new China?

Well, old and new China or Beijing are very much different , I think it’s too difficult to explain in this short interview question, it’s better to go to see the country for yourself.

What I can say is that the new China is just like many other countries but the old China, there is only one.

What do you miss about Beijing?

I miss my old Beijing whenever I go back, which is about every year. I have to go to the old parts of Beijing when I go back. I walk almost the whole day eating and talking with the older and wiser people who make me happy and make me feel like I have both feet on the ancient earth. When I am out of the old parts of home I see the endless rich new buildings I feel I am like a little fly. I am very, very lost because I don’t feel I’m in my Beijing.

Do you have any advice for the British Chinese Community?

I hope the British Chinese community encourages more British people to visit Beijing and learn from the old Chinese culture, things like cooking, music, theatre and films. Being British and Chinese makes us great ambassadors to help British friends to know a lot more Chinese people and find out the real Chinese culture. There are many beautiful things in China and from there. The nature, the people and many different parts of China have so many extremely beautiful cultures which I am still yearning to know more about, so let’s do it together to find out more about our ancient country to make people understand more about China!

Are you looking forward to visiting Rochdale?

I am very much looking forward to visiting Rochdale Food Festival because for me, to meet new people in a different environment is is like a new day and a new page.  I am happy that I can share my food and my music with the local people, I hope through my songs and cuisine we can promote better understanding of our cultures.

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