Cecilia Chiang is a chef, restaurateur and culinary legend who revolutionized the way Americans eat Chinese food. Born near Shanghai and raised near Beijing, Cecilia opened the Mandarin Restaurant in San Francisco in 1961, introducing a full-flavored Northern Chinese menu that initially included more than 200 dishes, then-novelties such as hot-and-sour soup, pot stickers, Peking duck, sizzling rice soup, and delicate shredded abalone with bean sprouts. The restaurant's lavish interior, sophisticated décor, and complex flavors from the Szechwan and Hunan provinces were completely new to San Francisco, and began to attract a star-studded crowd with regulars such as Wolfgang Puck, Jackie Onassis, and James Beard, who became one of Cecilia’s closest personal friends over unconventional dishes like pig’s feet and pork kidneys. In the 1970s, Cecilia held authentic Mandarin cooking classes attended by iconic American figures, from Julia Child, Alice Waters, and Danny Kay to Chuck Williams (of Williams-Sonoma), James Beard, and Marion Cunningham. Cecilia’s rich life history has been chronicled by two memoirs: The Mandarin Way (Little Brown, 1974), which details her culinary success, and The Seventh Daughter (Ten Speed Press, 2007), which recounts her 1,000-mile trek across China to flee Japanese occupation. She retired in 1991, but remains actively involved in charitable initiatives, like raising funds for the Chinese American International School (CAIS), the nation’s first Mandarin immersion grammar school, where she founded a merit-based scholarship program. Additionally, Cecilia has stayed closely linked to the industry, consulting for acclaimed San Francisco Restaurants Betelnut and Shanghai 1930. Her son, Philip, followed in her footsteps, co-founding the national chain P.F. Chang’s Chinese Bistro.