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Staff Bios

Chairman Wang teaches and cooks at Black Sesame Kitchen. She is a native Beijinger and has been a cooking teacher for 15 years. She recently served as a guest chef at Sarong, one of the top restaurants in Bali, Indonesia, in addition to participating in many culinary exhibitions around Beijing. Before coming to the kitchen, she was the chairman of a professional cookery school in Beijing. Her specialties are dumplings, homestyle cooking, and noodles. She is featured in Jen Lin-Liu’s memoir Serve the People as Jen’s original cooking teacher.

Chef Zhang is behind the main wok and teaches many classes at Black Sesame Kitchen. He recently returned from Las Vegas, Nevada, where he served as a guest chef for celebrity chef Jose Andreas’ China Poblano in The Cosmopolitan. Before coming to the kitchen, Chef Zhang ran his own noodle shop and worked at the Chinese banquet restaurant Yushan in Beijing. Though noodles are Chef Zhang’s specialty, he has a broad knowledge of Chinese cooking techniques ranging from Sichuanese to Imperial Beijing cuisine. He is from Shanxi province and was featured Jen’s memoir Serve the People as the noodle master.

Candice Lee manages Black Sesame Kitchen, in addition to hosting events and teaching classes at the kitchen. She hails from the North Shore of Boston and graduated Fordham University in 2006 with a degree in Anthropology. She has made television appearances as a cooking instructor and Chinese food consultant on MSNBC, BON Live, Lonely Planet TV’s Best of China, BBC World and Discovery Asia. She has participated in cooking demonstrations in Bali and Aspen. She is currently working on the Black Sesame Kitchen Cookbook and when not cooking or writing, she can be found biking or skateboarding around town.

Ben Manthey hosts events and translates for the chefs at Black Sesame Kitchen. When not in the kitchen, he’s scouring the city for new and unexplored restaurants. Also, Ben recently finished up a teaching fellowship with Princeton in Asia and has since traded his chalkboard for a job in “GuoMao,” Beijing’s business hub. Ben hails from Texas and knows the value of a good chili pepper, especially in his favorite of Chinese cuisines: Sichuan style. He has been with the Kitchen since autumn 2009.

Wang Ayi keeps everything running smoothly at Black Sesame Kitchen. She is from Gansu province and has lived in Beijing for eight years. She cooks excellent northwest Chinese cuisine dishes and makes sure the chefs are on their toes!

tel: +86.1369.147.4408 / email: [email protected]
address: 3 Black Sesame Hutong, Dongcheng District, Beijing, China 100009

All visits by appointment only.