Chef Ming Tsai: Voice of Fusion

ming-with-wineMing Tsai grew up in Dayton, Ohio, working alongside his parents in the restaurant that they owned called Mandarin Kitchen. Ming loved the cooking and the eating, but he also learned valuable lessons about the day to day operations of the restaurant, including how to please customers.

When Ming got a little older, he went east to go to school. He first attended Phillips Academy Andover, and later earned a degree in mechanical engineering at Yale University. Interestingly, it was during this time that he spent his summers in France, where he trained at the top culinary school Cordon-Blue in Paris. There he learned the classical way of cooking from some of the top chefs in the West. Upon graduating from Yale, Ming took a position in Paris training with the famous pastry chef Pierre Herme.

When he left Paris, Ming traveled to Osaka, Japan, to train with sushi master Kobayashi. While Ming’s culinary education was in the classical styles of East and West, he began to understand how a fusion of these traditions could lead to new and exciting horizons in food creation. He returned to the United States, enrolled in a graduate program at Cornell University, and earned a Master’s degree in Hotel Administration and Hospitality Marketing.

Ming finally had the education and background he needed to feel confident in opening a world-class restaurant. In 1998, he launched Blue Ginger in Wellesley, Massachusetts, brilliantly marrying East and West cuisines to create a dining experience that was unique and delicious. In its first year of operation, Blue Ginger earned, among many other awards and accolades, the title of “Best New Restaurant 1998” by the James Beard Foundation, and Ming was individually named as “Chef of the Year” by Esquire Magazine.

The excitement continued as Blue Ginger, under Chef Ming Tsai’s careful guidance, built upon the harmonious blending or East-West cuisines. In 2002, the James Beard Foundation named Ming “2002 Best Chef Northeast.” In 2005, Ming was awarded “Restaurateur of the Year” by the Massachusetts Restaurant Association,” and in 2007, Blue Ginger received the very prestigious Ivy Award from Restaurants and Institutions, recognizing consistently high achievement in food standards, hospitality and service.

Although highly successful, Ming was not about to rest on his current laurels. In 2013, he opened a second restaurant, Blue Dragon. He also stars in his own TV production, SIMPLY MING, bringing his fusion cooking to kitchens all around the world.