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Celebrating the culinary diversity of Chinese cuisine with hand-illustrated recipes drawn from chefs around the world
Celebrating the culinary diversity of Chinese cuisine with hand-illustrated recipes drawn from chefs around the world
Celebrating the culinary diversity of Chinese cuisine with hand-illustrated recipes drawn from chefs around the world
1,063 backers pledged $47,351 to help bring this project to life.

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The Illustrated Wok: Chinese food like you've never seen

$47,351

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Three years ago, we successfully Kickstarted The Cleaver Quarterly, a print magazine exploring the incredible diversity of Chinese cuisine around the world. 

Now we’re ready to share our next project with you: The Illustrated Woka print collection of hand-illustrated Chinese recipes from some of the best chefs around.

detail of illustrations by Lovatto, Angela Ho/Ahoy Illustration, Denis Freitas
detail of illustrations by Lovatto, Angela Ho/Ahoy Illustration, Denis Freitas

 I'm intrigued. Tell me more …  

We reached out to 40 well-known chefs, asking each to choose one restaurant-quality recipe that reflected their deep connection to Chinese cuisine. Next, we assigned each recipe to a different illustrator. We challenged these artists to use visual storytelling to bring the dish to life – while integrating the full recipe text into the illustration.  

In creating this book, our guiding principle is eclecticism. We want every flip of the page to offer the reader a sense of surprise and delight. 

detail of illustrations by Carolyn Phillips, Christina Chung, BlackSuen
detail of illustrations by Carolyn Phillips, Christina Chung, BlackSuen

Who’s this awesome book for?  

Thanks to a customer base that is increasingly savvy about diverse regional cuisines, Chinese food in the West is finally outgrowing its reputation as cheap takeout. We’re seeing the rise of chefs who approach Chinese cooking with the spirit of curiosity and experimentation while staying respectful of time-honored flavors and techniques. 

The Illustrated Wok shines a spotlight on these “next-generation” chefs who are rethinking Chinese food to serve the needs and cravings of 21st century diners. This book is for all the home chefs who want to recreate this magic in their own kitchens.   

detail of illustrations by Sarah Ferone, Johnny Acurso, Kiki Kita
detail of illustrations by Sarah Ferone, Johnny Acurso, Kiki Kita

I want to know more about these recipes!

Lots of China's regional cuisines are represented in our book: Sichuan, Cantonese, Dongbei, Jiangsu, Zhejiang, Fujian, Taiwanese, Xinjiang and Teoswa. You'll also see dishes that wittily combine several culinary traditions. Here's a sneak peek at a few of the recipes:

  • 6th Century Scrambled Eggs  
  • Almond Boneless Chicken
  • General Tso’s Gator
  • Soft-Boiled Tea Egg with Khatafi Pastry and 13 Spice Salt
  • Octopus with Spring Garlic, Wild Fern and Fermented Black Bean 
  • Chinese Chive & Dried Shrimp Pancake 
  • Super Fortunate Prosperity Noodles 
  • Oolong Gelee with Tart Fruit Syrup 
  • Milk Bread Babka with Chocolate and Red Bean
  • Cheeseburger Spring Rolls
detail of illustrations by Felicia Liang, Tom Bingham, Flo Leung
detail of illustrations by Felicia Liang, Tom Bingham, Flo Leung

Who are these chefs? 

Most of them are restaurateurs in North America, Latin America, Europe, Hong Kong, Taiwan and Southeast Asia. All of them are dedicated to raising the profile of Chinese cuisine and showcasing its gastronomical richness.

  • Abe Conlon & Adrienne Lo // Fat Rice (Chicago) 
  • Andrew Wong // A Wong (London) 
  • Brandon Jew // Mister Jiu's (San Francisco) 
  • Brion Wong // formerly of The Peterboro (Detroit) 
  • Chris Cheung // East Wind Snack Shop (New York City) and Tansuo (Nashville) 
  • Christian Yang // “A Taste of Hong Kong” (Hong Kong) 
  • Christina Seid // Chinatown Ice Cream Factory (New York City) 
  • Chung Chow // Noreetuh (New York City) 
  • Craig Wong // Patois and Jackpot Chicken Rice (Toronto) 
  • Danielle Chang // LUCKYRICE and "Lucky Chow"
  • Doron Wong // Northern Tiger (New York City) 
  • Eric Liu, Melanie Garcia & Hansang Cho // Gēn Creative (Taipei) 
  • Erik Bruner-Yang // Maketto (Washington, DC) 
  • Hannah & Marian Cheng // Mimi Cheng’s (New York City) 
  • James Mark // North (Providence) 
  • Javier Miyasato // Bao? (Lima, Peru) 
  • Johnny Lee // Side Chick (Los Angeles) 
  • Jonathan Kung // Kung Food Market Studio (Detroit) 
  • Jonathan Wu // Fung Tu (New York City) 
  • Jowett Yu // Ho Lee Fook (Hong Kong) 
  • Kai Ho // Taïrroir (Taipei) 
  • Kiki Aranita & Chris Vacca // Poi Dog (Philadelphia) 
  • Lien Lin // Bricolage (New York City) 
  • Lisa Tse // Sweet Mandarin (Manchester) 
  • Lucas Sin // Junzi Kitchen (New Haven and New York City) 
  • Mara King // Ozuké (Denver) 
  • Margaret Li // Mei Mei (Boston) 
  • Medwin Pang // Hunger Pang (New York City) 
  • Melissa Chou // Mister Jiu's (San Francisco) 
  • Oli Brown // Duck Duck Goose (London) 
  • Pichet Ong // Chaan Teng (New York City) 
  • Richard Hales // Blackbrick Chinese (Miami) 
  • Thomas Chen // Tuome (New York City) 
  • Yvonne & Mike Thompson // Cuz's Uptown BBQ (Pounding Mill, Virginia)

The Illustrated Wok also features recipes from some of the biggest names in Chinese cookbooks:

  • Fuchsia Dunlop, author of Land of Plenty: A Treasury of Authentic Sichuan Cooking and Land of Fish and Rice: Recipes from the Culinary Heart of China 
  • Linda Lau Anusasananan, author of The Hakka Cookbook: Chinese Soul Food from Around the World 
  • Carolyn Phillips, author of All Under Heaven: Recipes from the 35 Cuisines of China 
  • Kian Lam Kho, author of Phoenix Claws and Jade Trees: Essential Techniques of Authentic Chinese Cooking 
  • Hsiang Ju Lin, author of Chinese Gastronomy and Slippery Noodles 
  • Diana Zheng, author of Jia! Eating at the Swatow Table (forthcoming) 
  • Robyn Eckhardt, author of Istanbul and Beyond 
detail of illustrations by Nicky Sczesny, Anna O'Connell, Jamie Julien Brown
detail of illustrations by Nicky Sczesny, Anna O'Connell, Jamie Julien Brown

Who are the illustrators? 

We're thrilled to be collaborating with several dozen talented artists. Some are well-known in food illustration circles, and a few have even published their own cookbooks. Several of these illustrators found us because of their own passion for Chinese food!

Alan Chong Lau, Angela Ho, Angie Lee, Anna O'Connell, Arthur D'Araújo, BlackSuen, Carolyn Phillips, Christina Chung, Christine Su, Denis Freitas, Dingding Hu, Eliane Cheung, Esther Loopstra, Felicia Liang, Flo Leung, Hannah Cosselmon, Jamie Julien Brown, Jia-yi Liu, Johnny Acurso, Joumana Medlej, Justin DeVine, Justine Wong, Kiki Kita, Linda Tan, Liv Wan, Lori Bailey, Lovatto, Lynn Mok, Matthew Cook, Meimei Mao, Nancy Yang, Nicky Sczesny, Patrick Miller, Priscilla Weidlein, Ruth Chan, Sarah Ferone, Tom Bingham, Vincy Cheung, Zi-qian Liu 

Why an old-fashioned print book?  

Illustrations this beautiful deserve nothing less than expansive spreads on heavy matte stock – with color fidelity and textures that are only possible in an offset-printed publication. The Illustrated Wok will be a collector's item, an cherished object that you'll return to again and again in the kitchen. And then there’s the lay-flat binding (see below).

detail of illustrations by Liv Wan, Ruth Chan, Nancy Yang
detail of illustrations by Liv Wan, Ruth Chan, Nancy Yang

What's the book format?

  • 40 full-color illustrations, each on a double-page spread 15.74" x 9.6" (400mm x 245mm) 
  • Trim size: 7.87" x 9.6" (200mm x 245mm) 
  • Heavy matte paper stock 
  • Laminated cover 
  • Lay-flat binding allows the book to lie open completely flat at any page. Not only does this binding offer an ideal showcase for the landscape-orientation illustrations, allowing images and text to flow across the double-page expanse, but home cooks will also appreciate a recipe book that lies flat on the counter.  

How far along is this project? 

Nearly two-thirds of the illustrations are already completed, and the rest are rolling in at a steady pace. The overall book design is also well under way. If all goes to plan, the book will go to the printer in late September and be shipped in October. 

detail of illustrations by Angie Lee, Meimei Mao, Justine Wong
detail of illustrations by Angie Lee, Meimei Mao, Justine Wong

Why do you need my support?  

The Cleaver Quarterly magazine and website have always been a labor of love for us – ad-free and powered by volunteer energy. But it costs money to commission quality illustrations – and rightly so. Your support will help us cover the illustrators' fees for The Illustrated Wok as well as the book production costs.  

How can I help? 

Help us reach our campaign goal by backing this project! (And help yourself to a reward while you're at it.) You can also support us by spreading the word about our Kickstarter campaign to your food-loving friends:

detail of illustrations by Justin DeVine, Vincy Cheung, Hannah Kwan Cosselmon
detail of illustrations by Justin DeVine, Vincy Cheung, Hannah Kwan Cosselmon

 

Risks and challenges

Having produced eight acclaimed print issues of The Cleaver Quarterly magazine, we are confident that we have the expertise to produce, print, distribute and promote this book.

If any illustrations do not come to fruition, we may need to reassign a recipe as a new commission, which may push back our deadline slightly. Book printing may take a few days longer than we anticipate. International shipping may be delayed by circumstances beyond our control.

Our goal is to go to print in late September. Over the next few weeks, all backers will be kept updated on the progress of the book. If unexpected issues arise that significantly impact the timeline, we promise to communicate them promptly to all backers.

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  1. Select this reward

    Pledge $5 or more About $5

    SHEER ALTRUISM

    Virtue is its own reward.

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    THE BOOK

    Feast your eyes on recipe art!

    Includes:
    • THE ILLUSTRATED WOK book
    • shipping not included
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    TWO BOOKS

    One for you, one for a friend.

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    Pledge $50 or more About $50

    A BOOK AND A TEE

    If you love food illustration, why not wear it on your sleeve?

    Includes:
    • THE ILLUSTRATED WOK book
    • limited-edition THE ILLUSTRATED WOK T-shirt
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    Pledge $60 or more About $60

    THREE BOOKS

    Do your holiday shopping now!

    Includes:
    • THE ILLUSTRATED WOK book
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    Pledge $80 or more About $80

    FOUR BOOKS

    The more the merrier!

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    • THE ILLUSTRATED WOK book
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    Pledge $100 or more About $100

    THE BOOK, THE MAGS AND A TEE

    Because you can never have enough reading material.

    Includes:
    • THE ILLUSTRATED WOK book
    • Issues #6-8 of The Cleaver Quarterly magazine
    • 1 T-shirt (either THE ILLUSTRATED WOK, DUMPLING or YUM CHA)
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    Pledge $300 or more About $300

    THE WHOLE SHEBANG

    Yes, this package includes the ultra-rare Issue #1!

    Includes:
    • THE ILLUSTRATED WOK book
    • EVERY issue of The Cleaver Quarterly magazine (#1-8)
    • limited-edition THE ILLUSTRATED WOK T-shirt
    • DUMPLING TEE
    • YUM CHA TEE
    • shipping included
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    Pledge $400 or more About $400

    THE BESPOKE ARTICLE

    You pick the topic (as long as it's about Chinese cuisine) and we'll write a longform article about it and publish it on The Cleaver Quarterly website.

    Includes:
    • THE ILLUSTRATED WOK book
    • limited-edition THE ILLUSTRATED WOK T-shirt
    • DUMPLING TEE
    • YUM CHA TEE
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    Pledge $500 or more About $500

    THE PERSONALIZED RECIPE

    A recipe from one of our chefs: designed specifically for you and named in your honor.

    Includes:
    • THE ILLUSTRATED WOK book
    • limited-edition THE ILLUSTRATED WOK T-shirt
    • DUMPLING TEE
    • YUM CHA TEE
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    Pledge $1,000 or more About $1,000

    THE PORTRAIT

    One of our artists will create an illustration of you eating your favorite Chinese food.

    Includes:
    • THE ILLUSTRATED WOK book
    • limited-edition THE ILLUSTRATED WOK T-shirt
    • DUMPLING TEE
    • YUM CHA TEE
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    THE PARTY COMES TO YOU

    We will fly to your city and host a bespoke Chinese food extravaganza. We’ll organize a tour of historic Chinese food venues in your locale, and then, over dinner at a local Chinese restaurant, you and 10 guests will learn all about the making of the book and gain fascinating insights into Chinese cuisine. All of your guests will get 1 signed copy of THE ILLUSTRATED WOK book + 1 limited-edition THE ILLUSTRATED WOK T-shirt.

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Funding period

- (30 days)