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Setting Roots at A Single Pebble

By Kelly Church

Nestled in the city of Burlington, VT is a small slice of Chinese heaven called A Single Pebble, a restaurant that focuses on traditional Chinese cuisine while embracing new recipes. A Single Pebble opened in 1997 in Barre- Montpelier, VT before establishing the Burlington location in 2002. Current Owner and Head Chef, Chiuho Duval, says that her food offers an authentic Chinese style that's hard not to love.

"There [are] no secrets [in] my opinion [to cooking authentic Chinese food]," Duval says. "If one truly understands the beauty of the Chinese cuisine, how could the dishes go wrong with that."

Chiuho, although not the original Owner and Chef of A Single Pebble, has embraced the art of Chinese cuisine with her new venture. The year of the restaurant's eleventh birthday in 2008, Chiuho became Owner and Head Chef. An established journalist, Chiuho came to the United States from a documentary news program in Taiwan. He embraced his desire to learn how to cook and enrolled as a culinary student at the New England Culinary Institute.

"I came to work as a line cook in 2003 [and] became one of the business partners in 2005," says Chiuho about his start at A Single Pebble. "I studied western cuisine in culinary school, learned to use a chef's knife and practiced how to master five classical French mother sauces. The job at A Single Pebble was totally a random career choice."

For someone who says she didn't even know how to boil eggs before attending culinary school, Chiuho has come far in her career. She walked into A Single Pebble's restaurant doors looking for a job and managed to find her new career. As for the Chinese cuisine aspect of A Single Pebble, Chiuho says she already had an appreciation for it, the only step left was learning how to cook it.

"I knew how to appreciate Chinese food, but I knew nothing about it," says Chiuho. "With the basic cooking training from [New England Culinary Institute], I dived in. I learned Chinese cuisine in English and became in love with my own cuisine."

Part of this cuisine is one of A Single Pebble's most popular dishes, Chef's Tasting Menu which Chiuho refers to as "a culinary adventure." This myriad of smaller-portioned dishes is for an entire table to share and features many regular menu items, in smaller portions. The description of Chef's Tasting Menu says that "what you will receive is up to the Chef, but [they] promise you are in good hands!"

"Whole parties share varieties of dishes from our regular menu or specials that day [and] discover a new dish they love," Chiuho says. "It is a really fun dining experience."

Although her culinary resume is short, Chiuho seems to have found her calling. She ended up in Burlington due to a marriage and never left.

"Though the marriage didn't last, A Single Pebble became my home and root here," Chiuho says. "[Years ago] they were looking for someone in the kitchen and I needed a job. Well, 12 years later, I am still here."

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