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also appears in following countries/origins/languages: Hebrew
Famous Name Chen
She comes from a family of artists (Sanl
was a Chinese chef, restaurateur, and entrepreneur. Born in Beijing, China, Chen and husband Thomas left Shanghai in 1949 as the communists were taking over the country. Chen ultimately settled in Cambridge, Massachusetts. Chen opened her first restaurant, "Joyce Chen Restaurant", in 1958. The first restaurant was located at Central Square on Mass. Ave. in Cambridge, it was halfway between Harvard and MIT. It was a tiny take out place and in no time people lined up to get Chinese food of a kind that few Americans had ever tasted. A few years later she opened the next restaurant in north Cambridge. This was a larger, sit down place. That place did so well that a third place was opened very close to MIT. This was a larger and fancier place than the first two places. When Joyce came to America she knew no English. I took her first cooking class and at that time she was still struggling with English but she wasn't stopped by that. She was a very kind, good person. Every year she would buy toys for all her employees children. So- this woman who was brought to America with no English and, seemingly, no skills had managed to become the owner of 3 successful restaurants, the author of a cookbook, a TV show and more. She had come from a well-to-do family with servants so she had no housekeeping skills. As a child she enjoyed hanging out in the kitchen and watching food being prepared. She put together her memories and taught herself to cook in the way that she had observed. A remarkable and determined woman and a joy to know. She got to make a triumphant return to China when Time-Life hired her to take photographers and reporters on a tour of China. In 1960, she began teaching Chinese cooking at the Cambridge and Boston Adult Education Centers, introducing many Americans to home style and gourmet Chinese cooking techniques. In 1962, she published her influential cookbook, The Joyce Chen Cookbook. Unlike contemporary cookbooks, just about every recipe calls for MSG to be added.