Capital is a magic place for food boss Yin Fei

HE arrived in Edinburgh a little over 20 years ago, clutching the hands of his family after their journey from mainland China.
Yin Fei at his Chop Chop restaurant in HaymarketYin Fei at his Chop Chop restaurant in Haymarket
Yin Fei at his Chop Chop restaurant in Haymarket

But there’s no doubt that Yin Fei has grown to love the Capital as much as anyone, as he built his life around the city since that day in 1997.

After school and adapting to life in the Scottish capital, he graduated from Heriot-Watt University with Business Honours in 2008.

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Nowadays he puts that to good use by running a Chinese food wholesale business in Loanhead and the popular West End restaurant Chop Chop.

And that’s where the magic starts – literally. For more than a decade he has been entertaining guests, family and friends with tricks in between courses.

It was a hobby that began during his student days, in between studying and mixed martial arts, but is now very much a feature of his everyday life.

He is often seen doing his thing with a pack of cards, while sitting in his Chop Chop restaurant in Haymarket.

He’s even managed to impress the likes of chef Gordon Ramsay after being a runner-up on his F-Word show.

And that’s allowed him to build up a loyal following – for his food as much as his tricks.

He said: “It’s really like a traditional street kitchen in a Chinese city.

“That’s what makes this place so popular for diners, and seem so much like home for me. I’d have more difficulty leaving Edinburgh than I would have leaving anywhere else.

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“Not only do we produce from Edinburgh, but the community has really taken to us.

“We literally opened the back door of the factory in Loanhead, and we have a take-away kitchen catering directly for the local market.”

And it’s that attitude that has seen this magic man conjure up an award nomination.

Chop Chop is now up for a national honour with the BBC Food & Farming Awards 2018 in the Food Producer category, highlighting their production kitchen in Loanhead where the local workforce have become experts in North-east China’s Dong Bei-style cooking including jiao zi (boiling dumplings) and guo tie (frying dumplings), to noodles, chicken wings and pork ribs.

Yin Fei thinks it would be magic if Chop Chop Foods pulled another rabbit from the awards hat. Then again, Yin’s used to that sort of thing.