The 3-Minute Interview: Yong Wei Shi, chef for D.C.'s powerbrokers

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Food and Drink,People,Eric P. Newcomer,3-Minute Interview

In the wake of Supreme Court Justice Sonia Sotomayor's complaint about the District's ability to get piping hot food through security and to her chambers, The Examiner tracked down a man who still takes pride in delivering warm food to Washington elites.

Shi, who came to the United States from China more than two decades ago, is the head chef at Hunan Dynasty on Pennsylvania Avenue Southeast, just a few blocks away from the Supreme Court. He counts Supreme Court Justice Anthony Kennedy among his loyal customers.

Do you remember the first time Justice Kennedy made an order?

I think maybe 10 years ago, 15 years ago. He is an old customer.

Who delivers the food?

Sometimes an office orders, and maybe they're in a rush and need the food. Maybe a delivery person is busy. If Kennedy orders or if Congress orders, I finish cooking the food, and then I deliver it myself. It's very fast. The food comes hot.

Tell me about the letter you received from Justice Kennedy.

It came in the mail I think 2007. We delivered food to him. He had the Shanghai Duck. Two weeks passed, and he mailed me a letter. It came with a check with a $20 tip. I still have the check. He's come back many times since then.

The letter reads: "The ducks you prepared a few weeks ago were superb. This is a belated 'thank you.' We hope to see you soon. Sincerely, Anthony Kennedy."

What's so special about the Shanghai Duck?

It's very hot. Steamed in very, very hot water. We put a special sauce on it to finish it off. The duck comes out very soft.

- Eric P. Newcomer

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