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2016.037.015 Oral History Interview with Anita Lo 2015/10/23

Anita Lo is a first-generation Chinese American chef. Lo grew up in Birmingham, Michigan, and developed her interest in multicultural food at an early age. Leaving her white suburban hometown to attend boarding school in Massachusetts, Lo was introduced to a wide variety of cultures and people. She went on to study French at Columbia University, traveling abroad to attend Columbias French institute in Paris, where she quickly fell in love with French cuisine. After returning from abroad, graduating, and working at several New York City restaurants, Lo returned to France and attended the culinary school Ecole Ritz-Escoffier. Lo returned to New York and worked in several prominent eateries, including chef David Waltuck’s Chanterelle. Having developed her own unique contemporary American style and seeking creative control over her cooking, she opened her own restaurant Annisa in 2000. Lo describes her interest in adventurous, multicultural food and notes the importance of sustainably sourcing ingredients, especially seafood. She aspires for a more inclusive and equitable restaurant world. In the future, Lo hopes that minority chefs will be allowed to diversify their cooking beyond ethnic food and pave the way for less racialized kitchen spaces.

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2016.037.018 Oral History Interview with Cara Stadler 2015/10/01

Cara Stadler is a third-generation Chinese American chef. She was raised in Massachusetts and grew up biracial in a predominantly white community. Stadlers love of food began during her childhood, when her mother would make a wide variety of Shanghainese dishes. While Stadlers culinary education began in her mothers kitchen, her career experience started in American restaurant kitchens. She worked under Marsha McBride at Cafe Rouge in Berkley and then Striped Bass in Philadelphia. As her passion for food grew and she realized she wanted to pursue a professional career in the culinary arts, she moved to France to hone her fine dining skills. Stadler studied the artistry and technical precision of French cooking while working at Guy Savoy and Gordon Ramsays Au Trianon Palace. Afterwards, she worked in different parts of East Asia including China and Singapore. During this period she launched the prive fine dining service Gourmet Underground in Beijing. Stadler returned to the U.S. in 2011 and collaborated with her mother to open her first restaurant Tao Yuan in Maine. They also later opened Bao Bao Dumpling House together. Stadler credits food for reconnecting her to her Chinese heritage. She expresses excitement at the growth of ethnic foods in the United States, noting that the American public is increasingly open to foreign foods and flavors. Stadler also underscores the importance of sustainability and ethical ingredient sourcing in the food world, and she adds that she hopes to contribute to positive changes in the industry.

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2016.037.024 Oral History Interview with Jason Wang 2015/10/23

Jason Wang was born in XiAn, China and moved to the U.S. when he was eight years old. Wang and his family lived in various suburban communities during his childhood while his father worked at different Chinese restaurants. Wang’s father eventually opened a bubble tea franchise that later evolved into their successful XiAn Famous Foods restaurant. After spending college breaks helping his father at the bubble tea shop and feeling ungratified by his post-graduation corporate job, Wang decided to begin his career as a restauranteur with his father. Wang helped his father update XiAn Famous Foods by translating its menu into English and creating a website for the business. The original Flushing, Queens location developed a solid fanbase and saw even greater success after Anthony Bourdain mentioned the eatery on his hit television show No Reservations in 2008. Since then, XiAn Famous Foods has expanded to over ten locations across New York City five boroughs. Wang is proud to have pioneered the previously unknown street cuisine of his hometown in America. He hopes that their “fast-casual” restaurant model will enable them to expand to other regions in the U.S. and introduce an increasingly adventurous American public to Xian classics like their iconic liang pi “cold-skin noodles.”