Two-star Michelin restaurant celebrates Tan cuisine
Set in an opulent and exclusive dining room, the Michelin two-star Golden Flower celebrates the life of Cantonese Qing dynasty official Tan Zongjun with the authentic flavors of China’s interior -- Tan, Lu (Shandong), and Sichuan. Golden Flower is proud recipient of two Michelin stars and Forbes Travel Guide Five Star Restaurant once again this year.
Weaved throughout the restaurant’s interior, menu, and ambiance is the spirit of Tan Cuisine’s inventor, Tan Zongjun, a Qing Dynasty official from Canton who took up residence in Beijing, where he discovered Lu (Shandong) cuisine. During his time in Beijing, he developed a school of cuisine that blended the best of China’s north and south, now recognized as one of northern China’s top culinary traditions, Tan cuisine. Golden Flower’s menu also celebrates the later years of Tan’s life, when he moved to Sichuan and was introduced to the spicy, vibrant flavors of Sichuanese cuisine. Wynn Macau commemorates Tan Zongjun by presenting the flavors that this noble Qing Dynasty official experienced in his lifetime.
Tan Zongjun inspired several generations of chefs to uphold the traditions of Tan Cuisine, including Golden Flower’s very own Master Chef Liu Guo Zhu, who worked for more than a decade in the same kitchen as a chef from the original Tan household. Master Liu, who heads Golden Flower and oversees Wynn Macau’s entire Chinese kitchen operations, was discovered during Wynn Macau’s exhaustive two-year search for China’s best Mainland Chinese chefs. His four decades of work experience include more than twenty years at the legendary Beijing Hotel (where he cooked for Her Royal Highness the Queen of England, US Secretary of State Henry Kissinger, and Chinese leader Deng Xiao Ping); Executive Chef at the Beijing Grand Hotel; and Chief Instructor at the Chinese Culinary Institute of Hong Kong.
“Tan cuisine is a school of cooking that can be enjoyed by both northern Chinese and southern Chinese because the flavors are very balanced and the cuisine protects the original flavors of our ingredients. But it is also a cuisine that is very exclusive and hard to truly understand because of the labor-intensive cooking methods involved. Also, few chefs have worked in a kitchen with a chef from the original Tan household,” says Master Liu.
Master Liu has also enticed a number of Northern China’s finest chefs, who include past apprentices, to join Golden Flower, as they celebrate and revive the culinary traditions of Mainland China.
“At Golden Flower, I have created a very intimate kitchen, with chefs I have known from the very beginning of their careers. We each understand our ways of thinking. We all share the same sense of responsibility. We are a family,” says Master Liu.
Signature dishes include:
- Sweet and sour cabbage with chili vinaigrette
- Braised Yoshihama abalone in brown sauce
- Stewed fish maw with crab claw in supreme chicken soup
- Braised sea cucumber with Shandong leeks
- Sichuan tea-smoked duck
- Imperial dessert
Designed by Wynn Macau’s Executive Vice President of Wynn Design and Development Roger Thomas, Golden Flower’s interior reflects the exquisite, intimate nature of Tan cuisine, which was originally enjoyed in Tan’s courtyard home in Beijing. Thomas has created a venue that reflects China’s historic influence on the world, including a tea lounge and reception room that is inspired by a room from the home of British tycoon Frederick Leyland known as the “Peacock Room,” on permanent display at Washington D.C.’s Freer Gallery of Art. Other extravagant touches include a red-and-white cloisonné mosaic floor from Ravenna, Italy and Mariano Fortuny light fixtures that borrow the aesthetic of Chinese silk lanterns. Complimenting the opulent interior is tableware by award-winning designer Alan Chan and staff uniforms by Rene Ozorio, the creative director of Jim Thompson, the Bangkok-based silk design house.
Wynn Macau’s tea purveyor and in-house tea sommelier (a first for Macau), present a wide variety of premium teas from China’s best-known tea regions. Working with Golden Flower’s chefs, our tea sommelier guides Golden Flower’s guests through an extensive selection of teas that best complement our Tan, Lu (Shandong), and Sichuan dishes. Guests may choose to begin their meal with Golden Flower’s unique signature blend of chrysanthemuminfused oolong tea before trying a wide range of teas, from Wu Yi Mountain teas to Iron Buddha Oolong to Aged Pu’er, with each dish or course. Highly recommended are Golden Flower’s vintage pu’er teas, aged between five to thirty years and grown in China’s southwestern Yunnan province, with large leaves often pressed into balls that taste better with age, producing amazing bold, earthly flavors with deep rich aromas. Equally enticing are Golden Flower’s pre-spring and early spring varieties of Dragon Well green tea, which come from Hangzhou’s famed West Lake and produce a wonderfully soothing and refreshing tea with an orchid-like fragrance.
Master Liu Guo Zhu Executive Chef
All Chinese Culinary Operations of Wynn Macau
Master Liu Guo Zhu is the Executive Chef of Wynn Macau’s entire Chinese culinary operations, with a special emphasis on overseeing the Michelin two-star Golden Flower. Chef Liu not only specializes in Tan cuisine, he is also a highly accomplished chef of Sichuan, Lu, and Cantonese cuisines. Master Liu joined Wynn Macau in 2009 with more than 40 years of experience in the Chinese kitchens of top Beijing establishments, including the Beijing Hotel, the Beijing Grand Hotel, and the Pine Valley Golf Resort & Country Club.
The legendary Beijing Hotel is where his career began, and for decades this hotel served China’s top leaders and world-renowned dignitaries. In the 1960s, the Chinese government chose Chef Liu – then just a young teenager – to apprentice in the kitchen. The young Liu, in addition to being ambidextrous, quick on his feet, and academically gifted was a perfect fit for the Tan kitchen where he learned many of the secrets of Tan cooking directly from the chef of the original Tan household. As Chef Liu mastered the dishes and heard stories about the Qing government official from the kitchen’s elder chefs, he gained an even stronger appreciation for Tan cuisine.
Armed with a firm knowledge of Tan cuisine, Chef Liu made it his mantra to uphold the traditions of the storied Tan family, particularly when the Beijing Hotel began flourishing once again in the 1970s as China opened up to the outside world. As Liu moved up the ranks at the Beijing Hotel and became a master with his own apprentices, he began cooking for foreign dignitaries like Her Royal Highness the Queen of England, US Secretary of State Henry Kissinger, and Chinese leader Deng Xiao Ping, serving them Tan dishes rarely experienced by the outside world.
Always an innovator, Master Liu encouraged his team to improve upon recipes, establishing a more open, creative learning environment than the traditionally regimented Chinese kitchen.
In the late 1980s, Master Liu advanced his career by taking the helm of the new Beijing Grand Hotel’s entire culinary operation, where he stayed for 14 years, developing young talent, creating new concepts, and safe guarding the cherished culinary traditions of Northern China and Sichuan. He was most recently Chief Instructor of Chinese cuisine at the Chinese Culinary Institute of Hong Kong, where he served for five years.
Chef Liu was also the first Mainland Chinese chef to receive the Rôtisseur award from the Chaîne des Rôtisseurs in 1991. This prestigious gastronomic association brings more than 80-member countries together to celebrate their passion for cuisine and wine and to give opportunities for up-and-coming chefs and sommeliers to showcase their talents through competitions.