If you’ve ever watched the Hong Kong filmmaker Stephen Chow's 1996 movie The God of Cookery, then you’d probably remember the star Chef Chow, played by Stephen Chow. In the movie, he made a dessert in the Chinese character “heart” during the cooking competition. Symbolizing that food should be made with a true heart.
Q was born in 1991, he dropped out of school to wash dishes and start a business, what kept him going was his wholehearted love for the customers and Sichuan cuisine. "I'm not worried about the future of spice impressions. I'm more worried that customers didn’t get to try my food, might mistake the unauthentic dishes as the true Sichuan cuisine." Q said, while cooking his food. Sichuan cuisine has always been one of the most well-known, for its unique spicy flavor. Therefore, Sichuan restaurants have become popular with Asian cuisine fans. Q sticks to the rules, he sets for himself. His kitchen must be spotless, and the red oil is made from a secret family recipe. The meat and the vegetables must be fresh daily. Most importantly, he, the restaurant owner, must be the one who makes and serve the food.
Q was born and raised in Chengdu, Sichuan Province. In 2012, he came to the University of California, Santa Barbara to study. He confesses that as a native kid of Chengdu, he got used to eating spicy food before he learned to walk and run. In 2015, Q had to drop out of school due to his family's unexpected bankruptcy. Overnight, his life changed drastically. He was no longer a spoiled boy depending on his parents for tuition and living expenses, but a young man who had to face the cruelty of destiny alone. Q was able to get help from a local Taiwanese buffet, working hard for six months in the back kitchen as a dishwasher, picking up plates, and shuttling between the tables as a waiter. In 2017, one of Q’s senior schoolmates invited him to become the partner of a Sichuan restaurant called Sichuan Impression near the university. The restaurant instantly made a big financial success in the town. Q had to drive eight hours to Los Angeles twice a week to buy ingredients and goods. However, it didn't last long because of the pandemic in 2020. It forced a big part of their customers, the international students, to leave the country. In a total mess and chaos, Q decided to return to Chengdu and study cooking.
After returning to Chengdu in 2021, Q had become an apprentice in the kitchen of the famous chef Deng Bo, also known as Master Deng. Master Deng graduated from the Orthodox Sichuan cuisine school. His cooking skills are as elegant as arts. Master Deng trained his students in an extremely strict way. At the very beginning, Q was told to practice his wrist muscle by practicing hefting the pot up and down every day. Then, Q was asked to put some sands in the pot and keep practicing until half a month later, he was able to heft the pot full of soybeans without shaking them out of the pot.
After three months of hefting the pot, Q was allowed to cut food for side dishes, these basic skills are also known as "cut, match, select". When Master Deng showed approval of Q's basic skills, Q made simple dishes such as fried eggplant independently without the help from Master Deng. Finally, Master Deng taught him how to deal with green vegetables and fresh meats. Before he returned to Los Angeles, Master Deng gave Q the secret family recipe for red oil. Q improved Master Deng’s recipe with local ingredients in California.
When asked if old acquaintances who turned their backs on him when he was desperate, to visit his restaurant, would he still smile and welcome them? Q pondered for a moment and said:
"I will cook for them and serve them well. I am a chef now."
Spicy red oil is the soul of Sichuan cuisine. Spicy Impression represents the most authentic Chengdu soul food in America.