Throwback Thursday: JBF Lifetime Achievement Award Winner Cecilia Chiang

JBF Award Winner Cecilia Chiang (photo by Kent Miller)


Earlier this week, we announced our 2015 Lifetime Achievement and Humanitarian of the Year honorees. Today's TBT is a shoutout to restaurateur and Lifetime Achievement award winner Cecilia Chiang, shown here accepting the honor in 2013. Often referred to as the “Julia Child of Chinese food,” Chiang moved from Shanghai to San Francisco in 1960 at the age of 20, and brought with her a fiery passion for good food and good company. Hospitality has always been at the forefront of her efforts, as she explained in her acceptance speech: "You need to care about people and the heart of what I want to do is make my guests happy." Since her earliest days on our shores, Chiang has worked to introduce the American palate to Northern Chinese cuisine, and disprove the notion that... Read more >

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2013 James Beard Foundation Lifetime Achievement Award Recipient Cecilia Chiang


The Lifetime Achievement award is given to an individual whose lifetime body of work has had a positive and long-lasting impact on the way we eat, cook, and/or think about food in America.


Restaurateur Cecilia Chiang recalls James Beard’s delight after his first meal at her landmark San Francisco Chinese restaurant, The Mandarin, in the early 1960s. “This is so different from what I had before. This is very tasty. What do you call this kind of food?” she remembers him asking. Unlike most Americans at the time, Beard’s experience with Chinese food extended beyond bland, Americanized dishes like chow mein and egg foo young. His Chinese-born childhood housekeeper, Let, had been an accomplished chef whose cooking made a deep impression on Beard at an early age. Even so, the profound flavors in Chiang’s northern Chinese, Shanghai, and Sichuan specialties were unlike anything Beard had ever tasted before.


Authentic, regional dishes such as beggar’s chicken (baked in clay), Sichuan spicy... Read more >

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Awards Watch: Cecilia Chiang to Receive 2013 Lifetime Achievement Award


The James Beard Foundation will honor restaurateur and author Cecilia Chiang with its 2013 Lifetime Achievement Award. As the proprietor of San Francisco's famed Mandarin restaurant, which closed in 2006, Chiang introduced American diners to authentic Mandarin cuisine.


“The Lifetime Achievement Award recognizes those who have truly revolutionized the way Americans think about food,” says JBF president Susan Ungaro. "Cecilia elevated Chinese cuisine far beyond the takeout box. She completely embodies the spirit of this award.”


The Mandarin enjoyed a loyal clientele, which included Jackie Onassis, Wolfgang Puck, and James Beard. Chiang has also penned two memoirs, The Mandarin Way and The Seventh Daughter.


Read the full press release.

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JBF Kitchen Cam