photo 4It was clear from Dong Dong Chen’s introduction that she has led multiple lives and is truly multifaceted. Chen is a native of Shanghai, China and has lived in the U.S. for 24 years, and currently resides in Chicago with her two children Lachlan and Sophia. She has a background in photography, art, acupressure, Chinese herbal medicinal benefits, & the culinary arts. A true Dabbler!

After some encouragement from her daughter, Chen began pursuing a career as a professional chef. Chen began as a Pastry Chef at the Sheraton Hotel & Viand in Chicago’s Marriott Hotel before attending The French Pastry School in 2007. She’s been working as a professional Pastry and Sous Chef for over eight years now.


During the class, Chen showed us how to prepare two fillings for the dumplings: first a vegetarian filling with tofu, then came the meat filling. Both of which included, ginger, green onion, sesame oil, salt, & soy sauce. We then learned her technique for crimping the dumpling closed. Chen has crimped thousands of dumplings in her lifetime & could probably do it in her sleep.

She’s a dumpling master!

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We used store bought wrappers to make our dumplings but also learned Dong’s method of making the dough from scratch, as well as how to properly roll it out.

It’s clear that Chen has a love for sharing her culture with others through food. She explained the most important part of making Chinese dumplings, the family gathering to enjoy together. The whole family gets in there and helps – male & female, young & old. Everyone has a station and a role, and dumplings are put together assembly style with love and attention.

It was an honor to be part of Chen’s class, to learn from her, and to create community and conversation with my fellow Dabblers, and members of the Peterson Garden Project. I left the class with a full belly & extra containers of dumplings to take home, not to mention a full heart from connecting with other and learning something new.Screen Shot 2015-03-11 at 1.56.43 PM

Check out the next asian cuisine class or view all of the classes held at Peterson Garden Project’s Fearless Food Kitchen.

Dabble Drop-In: Tips For Chinese Dumplings – “Taste Test” Series with LTH Forum:

Come to this class with… a date, your group of besties, or come solo! I went solo, met awesome people, had interesting and fun conversations, & will definitely stay in touch with a new friend I met there. Proving once again why Dabble is awesome…the Dabblers in our community rock!

Use this class to… perfect your dumpling skills by learning from a master, fill your belly with deliciousness, and connect with community!

You’d be surprised that… Chen also taught us about herbal teas! She had two teas prepared for us to try at the end of class. One with hawthorne, barley, orange peel, clove & licorice, and another with gogi berry, chrysanthemum, licorice, & green tea. Each had it’s own healing properties that Dong explained in detail.

Come prepared with… an empty stomach & your beverage of choice. Most of the classes at Peterson Garden Project are BYOB.

Appropriate hashtag… #DumplingMaster, #DamnThatsAGoodLookingDumpling #DabbleChi

What to do in the area… You won’t need to eat before or after the class, but you might want to stock up on items to make your dumplings at home at True Nature Foods, an organic community market down the street, and if you’re looking to satisfy your sweet tooth with dessert, Lickity Split Frozen Custard & Sweets is a neighborhood 2