The year of the monkey is upon us. “It’s time to get together with friends and family,” says Irene, our expert in Chinese traditions, licensed bartender and a member of the William Ashley family for almost twenty years.
“I’m from Hong Kong,” she says as her laughter fills the store, “Kowloon side.” She nods to make sure I’m paying attention. I am. I have been looking forward to this. Time with Irene is fast paced, brash and filled with knowledge. Today she is going to show us how to get your dishware set ready for Chinese New Year.
“All you really need are two bowls, one for rice and one for soup, and a smaller plate like a bread and butter or salad dish (depending on the size).
“For soup,” I say as I hold up the larger of two bowls from the Narumi Collection (designed by the team at William Ashley).
She laughs. “No,” she says tapping my hand, “the smaller one.” I pull out a red lacquer pair of Christofle chopsticks and, once again, learn something new. The more tapered chopsticks are Japanese style. Oops.
“If you’re invited to join in the festivities you have to bring Lin Go”, she says. I’m about to ask who that is when she adds- “sweets that are made especially for the occasion. It’s a tradition. Got it?” she asks.
Now I do. Just between us, chocolates will do the trick if you can’t make it to a traditional bakery.
Whether you are celebrating centuries of tradition or getting into the spirit of diversity, William Ashley wishes you a healthy and prosperous Chinese New Year.
Interview by Sujeet Sennik