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Bring China back to its culinary roots

By Ye Jun  (China Daily)

13:23, January 10, 2013

Zhang Guichun tends his rooftop vegetable garden in Beijing. ( Li Gang / China Daily)

A television documentary series brought China back to its culinary roots last year, and changed some lives forever.Ye Jun looks back at the ripple effects of A Bite of China.

On Jan 10, shooting will begin on part two of A Bite of China, the television documentary telecast in 2012 that woke up the nation's taste buds and sent people scrambling online to search out regional delicacies.

Chen Xiaoqing, the executive producer of the series, says the new series of A Bite of China will be completed by the end of this year, if it follows schedule.

While the China Central Television (CCTV) crew is out scouring the country for more food tales, the stars of the last series are still enjoying their celebrity status half a year after their episodes were aired.

Beijinger Zhang Guichun, 55, was happily enjoying his retirement after he gave up his restaurant business. In his free hours, he would trade some stocks and indulge in a new hobby. It was this hobby that finally earned him fame as a TV celebrity.

In May 2012, Zhang's rooftop garden appeared on the seventh and last episode of A Bite of China, and his home-grown vegetables appeared on national television. It propelled him into the limelight and soon, strangers were coming to visit his garden and asking him for advice on how they, too, can cultivate vegetables on rooftops.

He has been invited to appear on many major television programs, especially near the end of the year.

"There was not a day when I didn't receive visitors from all over the country," Zhang says. He has just finished appearing on a few television programs at provincial and Beijing TV stations, and three more channels are waiting.

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