Crazy is this experience. During the pre-opening of the Park Hyatt and all its delays left me with actual weekends off. I decided to take a cooking class and sought this place out. It was a typical vocational school set off the 4th ring road on a side street in a local apartment building with no air conditioning, heat or elevators. They were reluctant to take me on but in the end I had my secretary convince them to let me do a Hunan cooking module. I would go on Saturday and work through approximately 40 dishes working with the owner/master chef. The translator for the sessions was this old man who was a theoretical mathematician that lived through the “big event” and told me how he was taken out of the university and sent to the fields to work. Strange, he still called him “our great leader” after all he went through. The instructor had major chops when it came to cooking-complete with cigarette hanging from his lip while he threw product in the wok at hyper speed. He had a cough that was TB like but a laugh and spirit that was open, kind and serious. All said and done this was one of the coolest things I have done when it comes to my study of food. Might I say that Hunan food is the spiciest that I have ever experienced. The use of the chile was by the handful.