End of the Mandarin
Cecilia Chiang. Intrepid and astute until the end at 100 years old. Chinese refugee landed in San Francisco to become owner of the Mandarin in 1962 on Polk Street, then moved to its landmark spot in Ghirardelli Square. Her independent view of what Chinese food should be steered her away from Chinatown’s chop suey mush to other neighborhoods of Fog City. Cecilia’s food was subtle, fragrant, vibrant and sauces sublime.
She was recently featured on Padma Lakshmi’s Taste of the Nation and at her seasoned age, Cecilia was sharp, witty and provided an historical culinary context. A legendary restaurateur to be sure. Adieu.