She mentioned her grandmother died in her sleep early Wednesday morning at dwelling in San Francisco surrounded by her household. Actual particulars of her dying are being stored non-public at Chiang’s request.
Chiang was the proprietor, chef and mastermind behind the game-changing San Francisco restaurant, the Mandarin. She is broadly credited with bringing actual Chinese language meals to America and was a celeb chef earlier than movie star cooks have been popularized.
“I’ll miss my grandmother’s gracious heat, her fearlessness, her wit and vibrancy, her ceaseless curiosity, how knowledgeable she was, and her skill to bask in life,” Siena Chiang advised CNN.
“I’ll miss studying from her century of tales, which have been endlessly entertaining and extremely sensible.”
Lengthy highway to San Francisco
Cecilia Chiang blazed a path for Chinese language delicacies in the USA. She died Wednesday at age 100.
Chiang, who was born close to Shanghai, got here from an upper-class Chinese language household. Her husband was a diplomat in Japan, and though she wasn’t shy about acknowledging her luck, she confronted different, maybe extra hard-won obstacles.
Convincing the eating public that Chinese language meals did not should be Thursday’s low-cost take-out choice, Chiang, who moved to the Bay Space in 1959, had her work lower out for her.
It wasn’t sufficient to current unfamiliar dishes to prospects of the Mandarin, her 50-seat restaurant on Polk Road.
The refined facet of Chinese language meals
The yr was 1961, and Chiang insisted on exhibiting diners the refined facet of Chinese language meals. The restaurant’s wine record was a part of her technique. Chiang says she needed to improve the Chinese language eating expertise. To do that, she additionally wanted to be hyperaware of aesthetics.
The Mandarin, which might later occupy a a lot bigger house in Ghirardelli Sq., wasn’t like different Chinese language eating places.
Its dissonance was purposeful.
“Is that this a Chinese language restaurant?” Chiang says folks requested her on a regular basis. The Mandarin didn’t serve chop suey or chow mein, two commonplace dishes on each Chinese language restaurant within the US on the time.
However that is precisely what Chiang needed to keep away from. Actually, her early brushes with Chinese language meals in America had left her unimpressed and decided to point out San Francisco what Chinese language meals was actually like.
Not solely was Chiang a girl attempting to run a restaurant in a male-dominated trade, however she was additionally making an attempt to coach diners.
Altering folks’s minds was sophisticated. And, Chiang, who had been retired some 20 years when she died, at one level remarked that not a single present restaurant may evaluate to the Mandarin.
In 2018, Chiang was excited to hitch a bunch of Bay space cooks at Alice Waters’ home for a meal and dialog.
Chiang’s possession of her success was refreshing.
Chiang proudly shared her recollections, together with tales about well-known regulars who used to fly right down to SF through non-public jet each weekend simply to dine at her restaurant, as fondly as she talked about her subsequent nice meals journey — one in all life’s biggest pleasures.
“She intentionally and unceasingly championed outsiders attempting to make their mark in meals, each Chinese language and in any other case,” her granddaughter mentioned. “I hope she is a sign and an inspiration to folks with marginalized identities to at all times imagine in your personal value and data, and to be uncompromising about your tradition.”
Cecilia Chiang loved eating out and speaking about meals with different culinary stars.
Properly into her 90s, Chiang could possibly be discovered flying to Tulum to eat at Rene Redzepi’s Noma Mexico, a short-lived pop-up, or getting collectively within the Bay space with trade pal Alice Waters.
Chiang was a mannequin for dwelling life to the fullest.
Over a chilly beer and crimson pork in her SF dwelling in December 2018, Chiang provided a easy piece of recommendation: “Have enjoyable … you do not know [about tomorrow].”
CNN’s Cheri Mossburg contributed to this report.