World Renowned Chef Visits Rectory

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Megan B.

Rectory students with Chef Ming Tsai

“The world needs more kindness,” Chef Ming Tsai emphasized when he came to Rectory on February 10, 2022, as a speaker in the Tang. Chef Ming Tsai is an American restaurateur, television personality, celebrity chef, and former collegiate squash player. He has two restaurants – Blue Ginger and Blue Dragon, was voted Top Chef by Esquire Magazine, runs a cooking show that won him an Emmy, and has written five cookbooks.  He’s very passionate about his career, and according to him, “True passion for life is in the inside, not the outside.”  In his case, while he studied at Yale to be an engineer, his internal love was cooking and that became his career.

Chef Ming Tsai has been wandering in the kitchen since he was a kid. “I am and will always be hungry,” he said, “and hungry is beyond what your stomach wants. I am hungry for life. A successful person is always hungry.”

Chef Ming Tsai has always been a good chef. As a kid, when the other children were playing ball games outside, he would stay in the kitchen and make amazing cakes with eggs. Some children laughed at him, but after the cake was ready, all those children came inside and hoped to have a bite. Chef Ming Tsai agreed to share his cake – but he charged them and made good money. The audience in the Tang burst into laughter as our speaker shared this experience.

Food in Paris and China inspired Chef Ming Tsai very much. He even thought of creating a new kind of food – Frenese – French plus Chinese. The first bite of a fantastic signature dish in a restaurant changed his life. It was such a treat, and it strengthened his determination to be a chef. After finishing that dish, eager to meet the restaurant’s manager,  Chef Ming Tsai even walked into the bathroom’s mirror while saying “nice to meet you” in French.

The world needs more kindness”

— Chef Ming Tsai

The Chef brings people happiness not only by cooking very delicious food but also by helping others as much as he can. After supporting his own wife through her battle with cancer, he understands how destructive this disease is to a family, especially when the one who has cancer is a child.  This disease can bankrupt a family as parents stop working to be with the child… but all the bills still exist.  Understanding this, Chef Tsai, in an effort to support these families, is heavily involved in the Family Reach Foundation.  Chef Ming Tsai always helped others as much as possible, and he stated that we should be kind, especially during this age of Covid when everything’s tough. “Give a gift because you want to give but not to receive a thank you” is the advice he gave us, and when being asked what he did to overcome difficult situations, he answered, “Be grateful.”

Chef Ming Tsai is grateful every day since the moment he opened his eyes, because he’s “grateful for breathing,” and “being alive,” and he’s even grateful when he had a difficult physics test in Andover since he knew lots of people didn’t even have the chance to take that physics test. This idea should remind us that there are lots of others who are living in extremely harsh conditions, while now we have good things to eat, a place to sleep, and even an education. There’s nothing to complain about, and we would find ourselves happy and lucky enough if we pay attention to all these things that we’ve already got instead of being stuck on things we don’t have.

The two points Chef Ming Tsai highlighted the most were to be kind and to be grateful. Everyone in the Tang was given a card and a pen. We wrote, “I will be kind every day” on the card, and we signed on it as a “contract” and a promise. The speech was thoughtful and fun! After going back to the dorm, this author felt kinder, happier, and more hungry. As a result, I shared chocolate cereal with my classmates, made progress in Capstone, and ate an orange, finding it more delicious than usual.