Cathy Yu opened Yi Garden, a small yard near Wudaoying Hutong, in Beijing, in June 2016. The yard mainly offers Sichuan, Hunan and Guizhou dishes, with a modern twist. Yi Garden is more than a restaurant; while they are eating, customers can enjoy the art works displayed in the yard. Customers need to book in advance, as it is not open-door.
"I began to work at an international public relations firm in October 1999. At the beginning of 2005, I opened my own public relations firm. I have worked in the industry … for the past 18 years. One day, a friend guided me to a quiet, small courtyard near Wudaoying Hutong in October 2013. We liked its good environment, and we hoped to do something in the courtyard. However, my friend told me they would give up the business, in March 2015, as they thought the courtyard could not work out," recalls Yu.
"The business was over before it started. It was unacceptable for me. So, I took over the courtyard. It was near to Yonghe Lama Temple and the Imperial College (the highest educational administration in feudal China). I thought it had a good cultural atmosphere. I decided to open a restaurant, as I thought every person needed to meet their basic need — eating meals," Yu continues.
"Limited by the space, I wanted to offer customized services to customers who hoped to enjoy privacy in a hidden yard. However, it was still a challenge for me, as I knew little about catering … In the beginning, we cooperated with a famous chef. The chef helped us design some dishes. Later, we employed our own chef," says Yu.
The yard only provides healthy, delicious dishes that are made with high-quality ingredients, including organic vegetables and the meat of black pigs and wagyu imported from Australia. Monosodium glutamate