2016.037.002 Oral History Interview with Peter and Lisa Chang 2015/07/05
Peter Chang is a chef and restauranteur who owns and operates a series of restaurants in the D.C. area, including Peter Chang Café, Peter Chang’s China Café, Q by Peter Chang, and the most recent Mama Chang. In the interview, Mr. Chang speaks about his incredible journey from his childhood in rural Hubei, his time in culinary school, his success as a chef in China, how he came to America, and how he survived then thrived in America, eventually garnering media attention in the US from reputable magazines and newspapers. He shares not only his stories but also knowledge about cooking styles and restaurant operations, expressing his continued pursuit of innovation and growth of Chinese food in Americas food and drink industry.

0:00 - Introduction, birthplace, how he started learning to be a chef (hukou, high school exams, vocational school), childhood in rural China and memories of cooking, how they cooked in rural China, embarrassing for boys to cook, how he was unexpectedly sent to culinary school 访谈介绍,出生地点,学做厨师的经历 (户口,高考,中专),童年在农村成长和做饭的回忆,当年在农村如何做饭,男子做饭很丢脸,如何偶然被分到厨师学校.

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8:18 - Unserious attitude when attending culinary school, mother had to do all the farming at home which increased the pressure on him, grandmother’s persuasion, younger sister quitting school to help mother, starting to treat culinary school seriously, proactive about learning in school 对学厨艺的态度不认真,家中种田都靠母亲而产生压力,祖母劝说,妹妹为了帮母亲而退学,开始认真学厨,在学校里学习积极

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18:25 - Assigned to his danwei (unit/company), starting work in high class hotel/ferry, work experience and career development, leaving company in 1998, Sichuan cuisine and Hubei cuisine’s influence on his cooking, “running around”, why he left his company 分配到单位,在高档次酒店/游船里工作,工作经验和事业发展,98年离开公司,四川菜和湖北菜对他的影响,“跑码头,“为何离开公司

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29:04 - Going to work at Beijing Taiwan Hotel, going to work at the Chinese embassy in the US, difficulties after leaving the embassy, turning around a failing Sichuan restaurant, restaurant’s reputation slowly grows, getting the attention of the media, opening up his own restaurant with partners, why he left his previous circle 去北京台湾饭店工作,去美国的中国大使馆工作,从使馆出来之后生活困难,重振一家快失败的川菜餐馆,餐馆名气渐长,媒体关注,自己和别人合办餐馆,为何离开原来的圈子

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38:06 - Financing a restaurant in Atlanta, going to Tennessee to open up a restaurant, going to Virginia to open up Taste of China, the market around Virginia suits him well, The New Yorker interviews him, the effect of media attention on his restaurant business, leaving after there was conflict in his restaurant, going to Los Angeles to obtain an official legal identity 亚特兰大经营餐馆,去田纳西的诺克斯维尔开餐馆,去弗吉尼亚州开Taste of China, 弗吉尼亚州餐饮市场为何适合他,The New Yorker采访他,媒体关注对生意的影响,店中发生矛盾后而离开,去洛杉矶后拿到正式身份

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45:54 - Opening up a series of restaurants in the Washington D.C. area starting in 2010, opening up restaurants in his own name, market experience, experience riding the Greyhound, why he is so restless, daughter living by herself, how he sees his experience in America. 年开始在华盛顿周边地区开一系列餐馆,在自己名下开餐馆,市场经验,坐灰狗的经历,为何一直不停奔波,女儿自己生活,如何评价在美国的经历

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54:35 - Culinary school seeks to produce “educated chefs,” the school taught them all types of Chinese cuisine, learning from famous chefs, the specialties of Hubei cuisine, depending on his own personal style. 厨师学校培养有文化的厨师,学院教授不同菜系,跟有名的大师学习,湖北菜的特点, 依靠自己的特色

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68:05 - He doesn’t pursue traditional taste when cooking in America, his thoughts on “traditional,” adapting to the environment when cooking, maintaining Chinese style and taste, bringing traditional Chinese taste to America, innovation in running restaurants, 在美国做菜不追求正宗,对正宗的看法,做饭要适应环境,保持中国特色,把正宗中餐带到美国,创新经营方式, 自己的特色,东西结合

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81:47 - Thoughts on Americanized Chinese food, type of Chinese cuisine that has the biggest influence on him, the more traditional a dish is the less it is made nowadays, the most important cookware in Chinese cooking, has he ever considered going back to China, difficulties running Chinese restaurants in the US, the direction Chinese food is taking in the US, 对美式中餐的看法,对他影响最大的菜系, 越传统的菜做得现在的人越来越少,中餐重要的厨具,有没有考虑回国,在美国做中餐的难题, 中餐在美国的方向

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