Zhao Tengfei: "Shanghai is a big city, I wanted to give myself a chance"

Chefs are an indispensable ingredient in our world, but what does it mean to be a cook in Shanghai?

As the Chinese proverb goes, humanity's most important relationship is with the food we eat (民以食为天). People nowadays look for good quality food, not only to satisfy our basic living demands, but also to add a touch of happiness to our lives. Because of this, chefs are an indispensable ingredient in our world.

But what is the truth of a cook? For Zhao Tengfei, a 21-year-old chef who has been in Shanghai for more than three years, it involves waking up at about 4am when he works the morning shift. Sometimes he gets home at 10 or 11pm if he works overtime.

He suffered a very tough time when he first came to Shanghai three years ago. “My salary was low that year — about 2,600 yuan a month,” he says. The house he rented back then was in very poor condition, and the roof would leak after it rained. But difficult situations can't beat him, and he's adamant he'll find his dream in this wonderful city. “Shanghai is a big city — I wanted to give myself a chance”.

Filmed, directed and edited by Tang Dafei. Subtitled and translated by Iverson Zhang. Special thanks to Andy Boreham. 

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