Tag Archives: Macy’s Valley Fair cooking demo

Take Five with Ming Tsai (The Sequel), On His Bay Area Connection, The First Dish He Ever Cooked, and The Only Food TV Show He Watches

Chef Ming Tsai preparing sliders at his Macy's Valley Fair demo. (Photo by Moanalani Jeffrey)

Chef Ming Tsai preparing sliders at his Macy’s Valley Fair demo. (Photo by Moanalani Jeffrey)

After interviewing celeb Chef Ming Tsai five years ago by phone, I finally had the chance last Thursday to spend time with him face to face, when I hosted him at his cooking demo at Macy’s Valley Fair in Santa Clara.

The 51-year-old James Beard Award-winning chef-owner of Blue Ginger and Blue Dragon in Massachusetts, star of “Simply Ming’’on PBS, and member of Macy’s Culinary Council, is also the ambassador for Family Reach, an organization that offers emotional and financial assistance to families with a child or parent afflicted with cancer.

More than 100 adoring fans turned out to watch Tsai cook salmon salad with citrus and pine nuts, shiitake and parmesan sliders, and almond-oatmeal cookie ice cream sandwiches.

Tsai is no stranger to the Bay Area, having been a sous chef at Silks at the Mandarin Oriental in San Francisco way back when. His parents, Stephen and Iris, also live in Palo Alto. His father, a former rocket scientist in Dayton, OH, is a professor emeritus in aeronautics at Stanford University.

After lunching with their son that day at Lyfe Kitchen in downtown Palo Alto, Tsai’s parents drove down from Palo Alto to watch from the front row as their son cooked and captivated the audience with his quick wit.

Tsai joked that after he married his wife and she took his surname, she became her very own major. That’s because she became – wait for it, wait for it, and say it aloud – Polly Tsai.

As Tsai posed for photos and signed copies of his cookbook after the demo, he spoke in Mandarin to some elderly Chinese ladies, and even revealed that his name actually translates from Chinese into “brilliant dish.’’ How apropos is that?

Yours truly working the microphone as Ming cooks up a storm. (Photo by Moanalani Jeffrey)

Yours truly working the microphone as Ming cooks up a storm. (Photo by Moanalani Jeffrey)

The huge crowd that turned out for the demo. (Photo by Carolyn Jung)

The huge crowd that turned out for the demo. (Photo by Carolyn Jung)

What follows is a short interview I did with him prior to the demo.

Q: How old were you when you cooked for the first time?

A: I was 6. I made my own Duncan Hines cake – vanilla. I friggin’ loved it, taking the mix, adding egg and oil, and boom – cake!

My friends who were all out playing baseball made fun of me. They were like, ‘You’re doing what?’ But then I sold slices of cake to them for 25 cents each. Pretty smart, huh?

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A Very Special Cooking Demo with Ming Tsai and the Food Gal at Macy’s

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Macy’s Valley Fair in Santa Clara and yours truly, the Food Gal, are thrilled to welcome celeb Chef Ming Tsai for a cooking demo at 6 p.m., May 21.

A member of Macy’s Culinary Council, Tsai is the Yale-educated, James Beard Award-winning chef-owner of acclaimed Blue Ginger and Blue Dragon restaurants in Massachusetts, and host of “Simply Ming” on public television.

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Join the Food Gal and the Oaxacan Kitchen Mobile for A Macy’s Cooking Demo

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From the moment I tasted its lusty mole sauces and made-to-order, griddled corn tortillas, I fell in love with the Oaxacan Kitchen.

You will, too, when its founder Ron Kent joins me for a cooking demo at Macy’s Valley Fair in Santa Clara, 6 p.m. May 7.

You may think you know Mexican food. But Oaxacan Kitchen — which has its own food truck that makes the rounds of the Peninsula, as well as food stands at local farmers markets — sets itself apart from the run-of-the-mill with its richly authentic flavors.

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Join the Food Gal and the Chef of Zola for a Cooking Demo at Macy’s

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Have you dined at the wonderful new Zola restaurant in downtown Palo Alto, which has been garnering rave reviews?

If not, you can get a taste of its comforting French-California cuisine when its chef-owner, Guillaume Bienaime, joins me for a cooking demo at 2 p.m. March 14 at Macy’s Valley Fair.

Bienaime opened Zola late last summer. After years of cooking at fine-dining restaurants, including Marche in Menlo Park, he wanted to create a more personal venue with food that spoke to his heritage and used the best local ingredients.

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Join the Food Gal for a Macy’s Cooking Demo with Tin Pot Creamery

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Do you scream for ice cream?

You’ll yell even louder then for ice cream sandwiches.

Join yours truly as I host a cooking demo at Macy’s Valley Fair Santa Clara at 6 p.m. Feb. 12 with Becky Sunseri, owner of Tin Pot Creamery in Palo Alto and Los Altos.

Since the demo is just two days before Valentine’s Day, we couldn’t resist enticing you with something not only sweet, but creamy and extra decadent.

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