Mountain River Venison
May 6

Interview with Chef Alan Yu


During his visit to New Zealand, we managed to get some time with Chef Alan Yu following a presentation to local farmers, where he showcased how venison can be cooked in Chinese cuisine. 




Chef Yu was born into the restaurant trade. His family emigrated to the US in the mid-70s and set up two Chinese restaurants in Maryland. At age 14 Alan apprenticed in various western restaurants in neighbouring state Washington DC, gaining experience working in all the kitchen stations. At the same time, to fulfil his parents’ wishes he studied for and obtained a Masters in Computer Science at Maryland University. 


Hard work and dedication to his culinary career paid off when Alan rose to the top position as Executive Chef at Michel Richard Citronelle in Washington DC. Then in 2001 he moved to Jean-Georges 66 in New York City. While there he became acquainted with Cervena venison, courtesy of Mountain River distribution partner D’Artagnan. Alan’s eyes opened up when he saw the D’Artagnan label during his factory visit exclaiming, “Hey I know that company. They supply all the good restaurants where I worked in the USA.”


In 2005 Alan was invited to work in a top restaurant in Hong Kong. The highlight of his time in Hong Kong was 2011 at 8 ½ Otto eMezzo BOMBANA when he helped Chef Umberto Bombana gain a third Michelin star. Then in 2012 Alan was entrusted as executive chef for the new 8 ½ Otto e Mezzo BOMBANA Shanghai, which was nominated for Asia's Best Restaurant of Miele Guide 2012 within just two months of opening.


Now, Alan Yu is the Executive Chef and owner of Le Rivage and Alan's Bistro in the Shanghai Bund area and Alan's Kitchen in Guangzhou. His next project is to open a pastry restaurant in Guangzhou. 


Why did Alan choose to specialise in French cuisine? In his words, “Chinese cuisine is very traditional and takes a long time to master. There are no recipes so you have to work by feel to produce the dishes. Western cuisine is recipe based but the compelling attraction is the opportunity for creativity and experimentation.” 


He says the restaurant business is tough. Restaurants are opening and closing all the time because the business is very sensitive to the economy. Alan splits his time 50/50 between Shanghai and Guangzhou. Having good staff is essential and he places a lot of faith in them. Alan learned this firsthand while partnering in a restaurant chain that built up to more than 60 units.


Chef Yu is a charismatic character and we are thrilled to have him as an ambassador for Mountain River Venison in China.

New Posts
  • Mountain River Venison
    Apr 28

    Enjoy this recipe from Chef Alan Yu for some braised venison shank in hoisin sauce. Ingredients 4 pcs Hind shank 2 pcs Cinammon sticks 6 pcs Bay leaves 2 tbsp Coriander seeds 150g Hoisin sauce 3 pcs Cloves 3 pcs Star Anise 5 tbsp Sichuan peppercorn 1 tbsp Five spicy powder 1 tbsp Fennel seeds Salt & pepper 2 Fingers of fresh ginger 100g Chinese Shoaxing wine (or so called Chinese yellow wine) 85g Chinese Crystalized sugar (or so called Rock sugar, can be substituted regular sugar) Method 1. First, prepare the Sachet bag, wrap all the dry ingredients in a cheese cloth. 2. In a large enough Pan add the about 3 1/2 liters of water, add rest of wet ingredients along the Sachet bag bring to a boil, adjust the seasoning with salt and pepper. 3. Place the Venison Shank into the pan, turn the heat to low cover and cook until the the meat falls off the bone,then strain it out keep the stock. Chill the shank in the stock over night. 4. Pulls the meat, slice thin, line up to the plate, then garnish with Scallions or parsley leaves. 5. Heat up the stock, adjust the seasoning with sesame oil and soy sauce. Salt n pepper. 6. Pour the sauce into the slice meat and serve. Served here with the Sautéed Tri-Tip Cubes - see recipe here .
  • Mountain River Venison
    Apr 26

    Enjoy this recipe from Chef Alan Yu. Serves 3 Ingredients 400g Venison leg portions deskinned - cut into 2x2cm cubes 2 Egg whites 50ml Chinese yellow wine 15ml Sesame oil 13g Fine sea salt 12g Sugar 1 tbsp Lite soy sauce 1.5kg White pepper freshly ground 4g Toasted cumin seeds 3g Toasted green Sichuan peppercorns 3g White sesame seeds (not toasted) 20g Corn starch 50ml Olive oil 150g fresh water at room temperature Garnishing for stir-frying Toast dry Chilli in a pan with a drop of olive oil 1 Whole red bell pepper, cut into chunks 2x2cm 1 Bunch of spring onions cut into 3cm lengths 50g Whole red chillis Method 1. Toast separately the sesame seeds, cumin seeds, then green Sichuan peppercorns and set aside for later. 2. Trim the venison and cut into 2x2cm cubes, place in a mixing bowl 3. Add the wet ingredients to the venison and mix well 4. Then add the rest of the ingredients. Continue to mix with a spoon or spatula until the meat builds absorbs the seasoning. 5. Once the meat has completely absorbed the liquid, add 150g fresh of fresh room temperature water, continue to mix until the meat has well-absorbed the liquid again. 6. Let it marinate for up to 2 hours or overnight in the refrigerator. Stir-frying 1. In a large sauté pan, add about 400ml of the olive oil and heat to high heat. 2. Drop the venison cubes into the pan piece by piece, searing all sides until nice and golden. 3. Then drop the bell peppers and scallions until softened, strain out the oil. 4. In another pan, sauté the red whole chillis, then stir in the venison with a quick stir. Then it's done. 5. Put it on the plate and serve.
  • Mountain River Venison
    Jan 29

    In their latest blog post, D’artagnan feature our free-range venison to show how it should be considered the perfect choice for health conscious red meat eaters. Take a look: As well as featuring their top 5 venison recipes, they’re educating readers on venison meat as a great alternative to beef - highlighting the benefits that come with it, such as versatility, taste, tenderness and nutritional value. It’s great to see a distributor in the USA promoting venison from our Kiwi farmers at the retail level, to their large number of blog readers (and therefore, potential retail customers!). If you try one of these recipes, we would love to see your photos! Post your photo in Instagram, tag us and use the hashtag #mountainrivervenison