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DinnerLab: Nixon in China

  • Museum of Food and Drink 62 Bayard Street Brooklyn, 11222 United States (map)

Welcome to DinnerLab: a new series of experiential dinners exploring the world of food and drink one subject at a time. Whether you are taking a trip to Ancient Rome, dining on the International Space Station, or exploring indigenous food cultures, DinnerLab will you take you on a one-of-a-kind culinary journey through special guests and exciting menus.

President Nixon’s visit to China in 1972 was not only a groundbreaking moment in political history, but it also marked a significant moment in global food culture. At the tail end of the Cultural Revolution, in the midst of the Vietnam and Cold Wars, Richard Nixon’s historic visit was full of traditional banquets (with Communist sensibilities, of course), orchestrated by the cosmopolitan Premier Zhou Enlai.

The dinner was full of firsts and follies as the world watched on anxiously: Nixon struggled with his chopsticks, and Peking duck was served with white bread and butter, thought to be an every-meal American necessity. The evening was punctuated by rousing toasts with the infamously strong baijiu, and a soundtrack of Communist marching bands and American folk ditties, such as “Home on the Range” and “Turkey in the Straw.” 

Join us for a special evening, filled with baijiu toasts, theatrical dishes, and a presentation by scholar Andrew Coe, as MOFAD recreates and reimagines this famous banquet, with recipe development help from Lucas Sin of Junzi Kitchen. Each ticket will include a four-course meal and baijiu tasting.

This program is part of our DinnerLab series.



Andrew Coe is a writer and independent scholar specializing in culinary history. He and his wife, Jane Ziegelman, are co-authors of "A Square Meal: A Culinary History of the Great Depression," which won a James Beard award. His ground-breaking "Chop Suey: A Cultural History of Chinese Food in the United States" was a finalist for a James Beard award and named one of the best food books of the year by the Financial Times. He has written books, articles, and blog posts on everything from the ancient history of foie gras to the secret criminal past of chocolate egg creams to where to buy the tastiest bread in New York City. He has appeared in documentaries such as the National Geographic Channel's "Eat: The Story of Food" and "The Search for General Tso." He and his wife live Brooklyn with their two children.



Lucas Sin opened his first restaurant at 16, in an abandoned newspaper factory in Hong Kong. He spent weekends at Yale running restaurants out of his dorm, before joining forces with Junzi cofounders Yong Zhao, Wanting Zhang, and Ming Bai. At Junzi, they combine Chinese culinary traditions with new ideas. And in doing so, foster long-lasting relationships between people and cultures.

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MOFAD Executive Chef John Hutt is a lifelong chef with a passion and interest in theory, history, science and culture of food. He has opened restaurants, written papers, cooked a lot of food for a lot of people, and travelled the world eating and drinking delicious things. He came to MOFAD from the El Bulli institute in Barcelona, where he was working on the theory and practice of food and cooking.