Learn English – The meaning of a phrase “to flip a traditional pancake over”


I am reading a book "Wild Ride" by Adam Lashinsky about Uber and came across the following sentence: "Kalanick appeared on WEF panels moderated by Western and Chinese broadcasters, gamely attempted to flip a traditional pancake over an intimate dinner with the managers responsible for Uber’s local operations in Tianjin, and huddled with his entrepreneurial peers."

And I can't understand the meaning of the phrase in bold. Would highly appreciate it if someone could help me to figure it out.

I did some research in online dictionaries and Google in general.

  • I know that "to flip" means "to move into a different position",
  • to flip one's pancake = "to delight", "to inspire",

but I cannot figure out a meaning in this particular context.

Does that mean that he tried to inspire his local managers? Why then "traditional pancake"? Because he usually tries to inspire people?

I am not a native speaker and sometimes cannot grasp all the shades of meaning, that's why I'm asking for help….

Best Answer

To flip a pancake has no special figurative meaning that I am aware of. I would assume that at the dinner that he attended with the managers, pancakes were being cooked, and he literally tried to flip one of them. That is, while holding a pan, he made a motion with his wrist causing the pancake to fly in the air and land on its other side. Or at least he "attempted to", as the text says.