Kitchen Wisdom of Cecilia Chiang

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Last Flight Out of Shanghai

Less than a decade after fleeing the Japanese, Cecilia now married and with a young family, caught the last flight out of Shanghai as the communist revolution swept over China. The family relocated to Tokyo where, at a dinner for an ambassador, Cecilia got her first taste of raw fish. Cecilia didn't love it and didn't love living as an ex-pat in the land of her former occupiers, so she sailed on the SS Woodrow Wilson into San Francisco to visit her number seven sister. Though she never learned how to cook, she ended up opening the Mandarin restaurant and never left. In this episode, Cecilia joins Chef Keiko Takahashi, the first Japanese woman in the world to win a Michelin star. She and her husband run Keiko on Nob Hill, a place that feels like a private club, and where the luxurious cooking has a distinct feminine style to it. Cecilia shows Keiko the simplicity of the Mandarin's whole steamed bass with ginger and scallions. Keiko reciprocates with an amazing 12 pound slab of Bluefin 'Toro' tuna flown in from Japan. Keiko artfully butchers the Toro by fat content and turns it into a delicate and drop-dead tuna sashimi that Cecilia has no trouble devouring.

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