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All-star chef Cecilia Chiang will be the star of a new documentary film, Soul of a Banquet. The film was screened this past weekend during the South Beach Wine and Food Festival.
The documentary will detail Chiang’s life and career as a chef at a Mandarin restaurant. It will be directed by successful filmmaker Wayne Wang, who also directed The Joy Luck Club. She is featured in the movie with restauranteur Alice Waters and chef Ruth Reichl, according to The Wall Street Journal. The documentary follows Chiang as she prepares a banquet to honor the 40th anniversary of Alice Waters’ Chez Panisse restaurant.
Chiang explained to the Associated Press, “It's not easy when I first opened the first year because all the dishes on the menu, people were not very familiar with that," said Chiang. "Hot and sour soup? All these funny names, but then they tasted and after years I educated them to eat my food."
Chiang refused to serve American food, and spoke Mandarin in the kitchen. Chiang finally sold the restaurant in 1991. Chiang still enjoys telling her story and cooking Chinese food for herself.
Image: Wikimedia Commons