Cecilia Chiang, chef who brought real Chinese food to America, dies at 100

Cecilia Chiang, the trailblazing chef who brought true Chinese food to America, died Wednesday at 100.

Chiang died at her San Francisco home surrounded by family, CNN reported.

Born in Shanghai in 1920, Chiang escaped to the U.S. as a refugee alongside her sister. In the late-1950s, Chiang visited her sister in San Francisco and was appalled by the low-quality takeout options passing as Chinese food, Eater wrote.

Chiang responded by opening The Mandarin, which featured more than 300 dishes, none of which were chow mein or chop suey. In catering to a more refined Chinese palate, The Mandarin became a cultural phenomenon, eventually expanding to a 300-seat location in the city’s Ghirardelli Square.

Chiang’s son Philip continued his mother’s legacy, co-founding the chain P.F. Chang’s in 1993.

After decades of serving top-class Chinese food, Chiang retired in 1996.

When asked for life advice, she told CNN in 2018, “Have fun ... you don’t know [about tomorrow].”