Still a firecracker at 97, legendary Chinese restaurateur Cecilia Chiang — is celebrated, and delightfully featured — in encore presentations of PBS mini-series beginning on the Lunar New Year, at 9:30 a.m. Jan. 28, on KQED.
The owner of The Mandarin, the elegant San Francisco eatery credited with introducing authentic Chinese food to America (Alice Waters said she did for Chinese cuisine what Julia Child did for French) — tells her amazing life story and cooks with famous fans and friends in six episodes of “The Kitchen Wisdom of Cecilia Chiang.”
Watching it is addictive as the potstickers featured in the first episode, in which Chiang talks about her privileged life as a youngster in the 1920s in China, then shows Korean-born, Michelin-star chef Corey Lee of Benu the right way to prepare potstickers. (They’re not deep fried).
The show’s a bit of a family affair: Chiang’s granddaughter Siena Chiang narrates, and upcoming episodes feature notable Bay Area chefs Laurence Jossel of Nopa, Nancy Oakes of Boulevard, Gary Danko, Tyler Florence, Keiko Takahashi and Belinda Leong of b.patisserie.
Speaking of Chinese food of a different stripe, Panda Express outlets on Jan. 28 are giving patrons a red envelope containing a coupon for a free Firecracker Chicken Breast entree redeemable during a future visit.