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Wednesday, January 17, 2018

Ming Tsai, My Favorite Chef

     One of my favorite Saturday morning activities is watching cooking shows on public television. No, I don't cook, I just like to watch. 
     One of my favorites is Ming Tsai. Ming (born March 29, 1964) is an American restaurateur, television personality, and celebrity chef. Tsai's restaurants have focused on East-West fusion cuisine. Tsai currently hosts "Simply Ming", a cooking show on American Public Television, now in its fifteenth season. Past shows Tsai hosted include Ming's Quest and "East Meets West". Tsai appeared in the Food Network cooking competition The Next Iron Chef back in 2010. 
     Ming Hao Tsai was born in Newport Beach, California and was raised in Dayton, Ohio where he attended The Miami Valley School. He assisted with the cooking as he was growing up in the restaurant owned by his mother, Mandarin Kitchen. Tsai later attended Phillips Academy in Andover, Massachusetts, and then proceeded to study engineering and play varsity squash at Yale University. There, he was a member of the Phi chapter of the Delta Kappa Epsilon fraternity and graduated with a degree in mechanical engineering in 1986.
     Tsai was named as an All-Ivy League squash player in 1986. While attending culinary school in France, Tsai played professionally on the European circuit. He received a master's degree in hotel administration and hospitality marketing from Cornell University in 1989. Either the summer after his sophomore or junior year at Yale, he attended culinary school at Le Cordon Bleu in Paris. Tsai speaks four languages: English, Mandarin Chinese, French, and Spanish. 
     Tsai began his television career on chef Sara Moulton's cooking show Cooking Live while she had him fill in for one week for her in 1997. He hosted East Meets West on the Food Network from 1998 to 2003 and currently he hosts Simply Ming. In 2005, he was a judge on the PBS show Cooking Under Fire. Tsai was a contestant in The Next Iron Chef in 2010, where he was eliminated in the seventh week. Tsai appeared on an episode of Top Chef in 2014. His other television appearances include participation in a Zoom Out on Zoom in 2005 and on the PBS children's television show Arthur episode in 2005 about food allergies.
     In 1998, Tsai and his wife opened his first restaurant, Blue Ginger, an Asian Fusion restaurant, in Wellesley, Massachusetts. The restaurant has won many awards. Tsai was named "Chef of the Year" by Esquire Magazine.  In March 30, 2010 Tsai opened Blue Ginger Noodle Bar, a mini-restaurant, inside Blue Ginger. In June 2017, Tsai closed Blue Ginger after 19 years of business. The reason was due to the end of a lease and Tsai's focus on a new fast-casual stir-fry concept restaurant, ChowStirs, scheduled to open in Boston during the early part of 2018. Tsai opened Blue Dragon in 2013 in the Fort Point Channel area of Boston, an East-West tapas-style gastropub which was named an Esquire Magazine "Best New Restaurant" in its opening year. He has authored several cookbooks. 
     Tsai won the Daytime Emmy award in 1999, in the category Outstanding Service Show Host.  His Blue Ginger Restaurant was inducted into the Culinary Hall of Fame in 2012 and in 2000, Ming was on the 50 Most Beautiful People list published by People magazine. 
     Tsai and Polly Talbott were married April 1996 and have two sons, David and Henry. David Talbott, Tsai's squash coach at Yale, and Mark Talbott, a former World No. 1 hardball squash player, are Tsai's brothers-in-law. 
     One of Tsai's sons has food allergies, and Tsai has become a food allergy advocate who promotes awareness of food allergens. He has been a national spokesman for the Food Allergy & Anaphylaxis Network and in 2012 was awarded a lifetime achievement award for his advocacy work from the organization, including his work on the state of Massachusetts food safety bill. Tsai is currently the President of the National Advisory Board for Family Reach, an organization that provides a financial lifeline to families fighting cancer.

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