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introduction

Bishop Raymond Allan Johnson is the Chairman of the Apostolic Council for Kingdom Destiny Fellowship International — an interdenominational fellowship of more than 200 U.S., and just as many international churches; headquartered in St. Louis, Missouri. He is the founder and Senior Servant of GlobalDestiny International Ministries, in Detroit, Michigan; and formerly also in Nanchang, Peoples Republic of China.

Bishop Johnson arrived in China in September 2005, and lived, worked, and ministered there for the next seven years. Bishop Johnson came home for his consecration to the office of Bishop on August 4, 2006. He returned to China later that month and stayed behind for another six years.

Travelling around China opened the door to a litany of wonderful experiences. In 2009 he started writing what would eventually grow into The Song Project — a collection of stories about the life of a foreigner living in China.. The Project will be several books covering aspects of Chinese culture. Mr. Song's Dinner Table tells the story of Bishop Johnson's culinary journey through China. "You don't know how glad I am!"

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"A Walk Down Memory Lane" Bishop's web page (2000) more

Mr. Song's Dinner Table ...

... coming fall 2015

On a more serious note, I look forward to seeing 'Panda Express' down my way: The Chinese just can't cook Chinese food. In my experience, it doesn't taste anything like the real thing.
Pete M ... a British professor, living in China

 

Front Cover

Chef Herman A. Breithaupt was born in Allmansweir, Germany on January 5, 1896. At the age of 15, he moved to Canada where he completed his apprenticeship at the Queen's Hotel in Montreal. He later moved to the United States and served as a civilian cook during World War I. He became Executive Chef at the Savoy Hotel in Iowa and the Leland hotel in Illinois. He was the recipient of numerous awards including the Golden Toque Award.

In 1939 Chef Breithaupt organized the Detroit Public Schools' first Commercial Foods Program at Chadsey High School. This program later produced many leading chefs, entrepreneurs and educators. Chef Breithaupt retired from the Detroit Public School System in 1968.

© 2014 Bishop Raymond Allan Johnson

I came into Chef Breithaupt's kitchen in 1965, as a Cooking and Culinary Arts student. Along with Chef Breithaupt our instructors were Chef George Marchand — who had helped him start the Culinary Arts program at Chadsey, back in 1939; and Chefs Karl Nelson and Chef Benson, who had been his students, at the beginning. I gradated in 1968, the same year that Chef Breithaupt retired, and went on to work in a number of restaurants around the state of Michigan.

Eating at "Mr. Song's" Dinner Table

I came to China in the Fall of 2005, to work as a "Ford Foreign Expert" for a major Ford Motor Company joint venture. Along the way I had the privilege to travel around the country, sampling dish after dish of exquisite Chinese cuisine. I also learned a valuable lesson: that what I thought I knew about Chinese food — which I thought was considerable, since I ate it all the time, back at home in the States — was barely enpugh to scratch the surface. {To be fair, what they knew about "American Food" wasn't any better ... but that's another book.)

The American that I worked for had been so intrigued by the stories I told him about my first few years, coming out of culinary school — and had went on and on about them so much — that I eventually became a sort of "Culinary Ambassador," in the local community. For example, when the local TV station came up with the idea of having a laowai to wish everyone a special "Happy Chinese New Year" greeting, they invited me to do an on-air cooking segment to lead up to it. When local restaurants wanted to serve their customers an "American" holiday dinner, they invited me to come into their kitchens and help their chefs prepare.

The Celebrity Chef at Work
Christmas 2007

The most important outcome of my time visiting the kitchens is that I also got a chance to "look behind the curtain," and to learn tremendously about the rich culinary diversity that exists in China. When I returned home, after seven years, I set out to share what I learned with you — to take you behind the curtain with me. My hope is to pique your curiosity enough that you'll want to experience this cuisine for yourself; but even if I only succeed in giving you a fun ride through this rich part of the culture, that will be O.K., too!

Mr. Song's Dinner Table will be available this fall from Partridge Singapore: A PENGUIN RANDOM HOUSE COMPANY