Originally from Hong Kong, Jingan moved to London to complete her BA in English with Film Studies from King’s College London and never looked back. She also holds an MSt in Creative Writing from Oxford University. She was the first playwright commissioned in the English language by the Hong Kong Arts Festival for FILTH (Failed in London, Try Hong Kong) and continues to write and produce for stage and screen in London. She has contributed for publications including the South China Morning Post, the Guardian and London Review of Books Blog.
As a Story Terrace writer, Jingan interviews customers and turns their life stories into books. Get to know her better: you can read an autobiographical story of her own below. Get in touch today to work with her!
What a Feast: The Lost Art of the Brasserie (Excerpt)
At age 17 I desperately wanted to live in Paris. Hemingway to heart, I longed for the “feast” that would take me far away from the stuffy roots of my childhood in South East Asia. And so, being the unruly teenager, and much to the dismay of my mother, I applied for an art degree that would allow me to journey hundreds of miles across the world to a new chapter in my, up to this point, sheltered life.
Life in Paris may not have been the change I was looking or ready for, but it opened by eyes to an exciting new revelation. One that has become part of my genetic makeup, a place long forgotten: The “Brasserie”.
Below the box where I first lived, on the corner of Avenue de Suffren there was a Brasserie. You might consider this relic “old school”, “classic”, it was not part of a chain nor was it upmarket. Dimly lit with big black leather sofas and banquets, the majestic art deco bar was covered in scratches lovingly etched into it over time, and the black and white photos of French provincial paradise that hung above were of those who worked and ate there. It felt like home.
It was a neighbourhood place, full of locals from the 7th and 15th, tourists, employees from the Unesco down the road and nearer to closing time, chefs from nearby restaurants (in other words, you knew the food was good and the liqueur cheap). The pensioners would trump through there like they were being given free Viagra. I duly fell in love with the place. It became a safe haven. I swiftly learned the name of my waiter who would give me Campari and Soda’s on-the-house, the owner (who I would later discover was my landlady’s sister) became a surrogate mother. The memories I have of Brasserie Suffren are the fondest I hold of the City of Lights. I can’t wait to go back.