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The Cleaver Quarterly is a new print magazine taking a playful look at Chinese food as a global phenomenon.
The Cleaver Quarterly is a print magazine dedicated to telling the stories of Chinese food around the world.
The Cleaver Quarterly is a print magazine dedicated to telling the stories of Chinese food around the world.
162 backers pledged £6,214 to help bring this project to life.

About this project

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The Cleaver Quarterly: Launching A Chinese Food Magazine

£6,214

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1. What are you doing?

Set to launch in May 2014, our quarterly, ad-free print magazine will take a playful look at Chinese food as a truly global phenomenon through lively longform writing and vivid visuals.

The Cleaver Quarterly will explore the changing appetites of the world’s most populous country as well as Chinese food around the world.

Considering the sheer variety of cuisine within China, Taiwan and Hong Kong – and how Chinese food has taken root and evolved in other countries – it’s safe to say we’ll never run out of things to cover.

We'll tell the stories behind the recipes, whether it’s the savory double-steamed soups of Jiangxi province, microbrewing in Taiwan or egg rolls in Eden Prairie, Minnesota.

We'll also be telling the stories that you won't see anywhere else.

People are increasingly aware that there’s so much more to Chinese food than the sweet-and-sour menu at their local takeaway, and they’re hungry to explore. But the staggering diversity of Chinese regional cuisines and often-intimidating ingredients can make “real” Chinese food seem either off-putting or out of reach. We think that's a shame, considering some of those dishes may just become their new comfort food. That's what The Cleaver Quarterly hopes to change.

The Cleaver Quarterly will also translate classic prose, netizen chatter and other writing from Chinese into English.

2. What can I expect?

This.

 Also this.

 And even this.

Our Table of Contents for Issue 1 also includes:

  • A profile of David R. Chan – the man who has eaten at 6,515 Chinese restaurants and counting
  • Chef Ken Hom on his longstanding association with Manchester United 
  • Sweet Mandarin, the twin sisters who were crowned the UK’s “Best Local Chinese Restaurant” by Gordon Ramsay 
  • The MRE challenge: a man subsists on nothing but Chinese military rations for a week 
  • Sichuan mulled beer 
  • Infographic: comparing English-language and Chinese-language recipes for Kung Pao Chicken 
  • The perennial sweet vs. savory feud that divides Chinese netizens
  • Photo essays of vintage enamelware, Taipei night markets and chefs posing with their cleavers 
  • "Formosa Sketches"beautiful illustrations of Taiwanese dishes and snacks
  • A trip to the "Dragon Well" tea plantation in Hangzhou, Zhejiang province, exploring the routines and rhythms of the busy harvest period

Contributors to our first issue include Scott D. Seligman, co-author of The Cultural Revolution Cookbook, and Carolyn Phillips, whose cookbook of Chinese regional cuisines will be published by McSweeney's in 2014.

3. Who are you?

Collectively, we’ve spent 25+ years in China, with extensive experience in writing, editing and publishing.

Lilly Chow (Managing Editor) has been published in Gastronomica and edited Beijing Eats: A Food Lover's Companion to China's Culinary Capital, an in-depth look at more than 30 regional Chinese cuisines and 140 Beijing restaurants.

Jonathan White (Executive Publisher) is a writer and editor who has lived in Hong Kong and Beijing, where he spent four years as the Managing Editor of a city events and listings magazine. He will put almost anything in his mouth, as long as it is spicy.

Iain Shaw (Brand Director) was the Food & Drink Editor of a Beijing events and listings magazine, before moving into a social media for that magazine's publisher. Iain has lived in China for almost ten years and traveled widely across the country.

4. Where does my money go?

This magazine will be pleasing to the eye and delightful to touch. The Cleaver Quarterly will be perfect bound, full color, and published on high quality matte paper by an offset printer. Offset printing produces significantly better results than digital printing - particularly for food photography. It's really the only choice for The Cleaver Quarterly. But it does cost more to do the job properly. And we're 100% ad-free.

That's why your support is so important. It's also why our reward tiers concentrate on getting you a beautifully printed magazine that you'll want to hang on to forever.

5. What do I get in return for supporting you?

You get to be part of creating a magazine from the very beginning. We've got rewards for backers of all budgets – have a look at the column on the right for a list of what you can get in return for backing us.

6. Why the devil is this Kickstarter in British pounds?

Glad you asked. Our team is a mix of English, American and Scottish, and based in Beijing. In setting up the Kickstarter, we found it easiest to go British, but translated our target and reward tiers from our currency of choice – the US dollar. The Cleaver Quarterly has a truly global focus, and Issue One will ship to you, wherever you are, from here in Beijing.

Thanks for taking the time to check us out and we hope you support The Cleaver Quarterly.

Credits

VIDEO: Vicky Mohieddeen

VIDEO SOUNDTRACK: "Good Ideas" by Nova Heart, from the EP "Beautiful Boys." Thanks to Philipp Grefer and Helen Feng

IMAGES: Nick Otto (photo of steamy restaurant window), Fiona Reilly (photo of tea terrace), Lichia Liu (Black Pepper Biscuit Bun illustration)

Risks and challenges

People are constantly saying that print is dead. Now we don't believe that to be the case but if it is true then that's going to be a problem.

However, print is slow. The printers may be inundated with larger jobs which could delay printing and distribution. Postage times from China can be unpredictable – the "slow boat to China" can be similarly snail-paced on the journey back.

Finally, we all have day jobs, so while this is something we love, we can't spend all our waking hours on it.

Those are the challenges. And we're ready for them.

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FAQ

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  1. Select this reward

    Pledge £1 or more About $1.67

    RAT:
    We think you’re ace for backing us, so we’ll put your name on our website. Forever. People will know for eternity that you are an all-round good egg.

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  2. Select this reward

    Pledge £3 or more About $5

    OX:
    We’ll send you a glorious PDF of all of the names that we considered for the magazine before it became The Cleaver Quarterly.

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  3. Select this reward

    Pledge £6 or more About $10

    RABBIT:
    We’ll mail the very first issue of The Cleaver Quarterly direct to your door, or the door of someone else, or even a PO Box so that nobody knows you read food literature.

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  4. Select this reward

    Pledge £10 or more About $17

    TIGER:
    We’ll send you a bumper PDF charting the evolution of The Cleaver Quarterly’s logo. Plus we’ll throw in those runner-up names. Jackpot! You'll also get the debut issue of the world's finest independent Chinese food magazine to chew over.

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  5. Select this reward

    Pledge £18 or more About $30

    DRAGON:
    Your money gets you a personalized copy of the very first issue of The Cleaver Quarterly. Tell us your name and we'll slip a handwritten note into your copy, filled with expressions of our gratitude.

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    Pledge £30 or more About $50

    SNAKE:
    You get a proper smart The Cleaver Quarterly T-shirt as designed for us by Plastered, Beijing's best T-shirt company.

    These are limited edition and not available in stores. Sizes vary, and we’ve got every colour as long as it’s black. You’ll also get the debut issue of the world’s finest independent Chinese food magazine to read while cutting a dash.

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  7. Select this reward

    Pledge £50 or more About $83

    HORSE:
    Four copies of the magazine to share with your friends and neighbours. Packaged in a stylish The Cleaver Quarterly tote bag so that you look your best when you're carrying the magazine around town.

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  8. Select this reward

    Pledge £50 or more About $83

    HATS HATS HATS! So many people told us that they wanted a bespoke bobble hat that we went knit cap in hand to ask our wooly aunties if they'd do more. They said yes! You get to decide the colourways so your hats are truly personalized. Oh yeah, you'll also get the debut issue of the world’s finest independent Chinese food magazine delivered to your door.

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  9. Select this reward

    Pledge £90 or more About $150

    RAM:
    A gift pack to give you the real taste of China. Each pack will include a carefully curated selection of Chinese junk food, time-honoured traditional snacks from across China or organic produce. Each will be delivered to you with a copy of The Cleaver Quarterly to feast your eyes on while you chow down.

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    Pledge £500 or more About $833

    MONKEY:
    We’ll have dinner with you in Beijing or via Skype. Let’s make it a date. You’ll also get the debut issue of the world’s finest independent Chinese food magazine in case you get stood up (but we won’t do that.)

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    Pledge £600 or more About $999

    ROOSTER:
    We love wool. It’s the second best part of a sheep after dinner. That’s why we’re going to get our aunties in the wool market to knit you a bespoke Cleaver Qardigan and bobble hat. They shall be devilishly handsome and will keep you warm while reading. You’ll also get the debut issue of the world’s finest independent Chinese food magazine to warm your insides.

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  12. Select this reward

    Pledge £2,000 or more About $3,331

    DOG:
    The whole shebang – all the rewards mentioned up to this point. Plus you get pride of place in the magazine on a page dedicated to you. The readers of The Cleaver Quarterly shall know your name and your favourite Chinese dish, for that is what we will print.

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  13. Select this reward

    Pledge £5,000 or more About $8,326

    PIG:
    Get yourself on a plane to Beijing and we will do the rest. We’ll show you the sights, the sounds and the tastes of this culinary capital … and throw in a swanky place to stay. Pack a camera, an appetite and your snazziest trousers with an elasticated waistband. You’ll also get the debut issue of the world’s finest independent Chinese food magazine delivered to you in person.

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Funding period

- (26 days)