About this project
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?
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.
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.Learn about accountability on Kickstarter
Support this project
- (26 days)