San Francisco Social Diary: Culinary Icon Cecilia Chiang at 94

Cecilia Chiang accepting her 2013 James Beard Foundation Lifetime Achievement Award in New York City.

This has been a banner year for San Francisco culinary legend Cecilia Chiang, still gracious and energetic at 94. She received the 2013 James Beard Lifetime Achievement Award in New York City and was the subject of the biographical documentary Soul of a Banquet, which premiered in San Francisco.

Often credited with introducing Americans to authentic Chinese cuisine and hailed as “the Julia Child of Chinese food” by chef Alice Waters, Chiang is the founder of legendary San Francisco Chinese restaurant The Mandarin, which remained under her stewardship from 1961 to 1991.

Cecilia Chiang with her son Philip Chiang, founder of the popular chain, P. F. Chang Chinese Bistro, at the James Beard Awards Ceremony.

Cecilia Chiang accepted her James Beard Lifetime Achievement Award in an authentic Qing-era red brocade qipao.

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