Flavor First: Chef Ming Tsai

Ming Tsai’s passion for cooking extends to legislation.

| October/November 2009

  • Thai basil and cilantro add flavor and nutrition without calories and sodium.
    By Anthony Tieuli

Ask Chef Ming Tsai about his most memorable meals and his description covers all the senses: the flavors from subtle to bold; the precision of the chef’s technique; the clarity of the consommé; the shape of a platter in the waiter’s hands; the fragrance of a dish as it’s placed upon a table; and the sound of Thai basil hitting hot, browned butter.

• Sweet Potato Ravioli with Basil Brown Butter 

He takes such delight in food from kitchen to table that it’s no wonder he garners top accolades and enthusiastic audiences for his restaurant, Blue Ginger, and for his three cookbooks. His Emmy-nominated Simply Ming, for which he serves as host and executive producer, is in its sixth season on public television. He’s also a well-respected designer and product developer with a signature line of ceramic cutting tools, East-West meal solutions and an eco-friendly line of bamboo cutting boards and serveware. 

Ming is a founding member of Chefs for Humanity, an alliance of culinary professionals and educators that partners with U.S. and global organizations to provide nutrition education, hunger relief, and emergency and humanitarian aid across the world.

Additionally, as a national spokesperson for the Food Allergy and Anaphylaxis Network (FAAN), Ming works to educate others and researches food allergies. He developed the Food Allergy Reference Book, first used at Blue Ginger, which has proven to be a pioneering system for helping food-allergic people dine safely. For the past four years, Ming worked with the Massachusetts Legislature to help write Bill S. 2701, which was recently signed into law. This groundbreaking legislation requires local restaurants to comply with simple food-allergy awareness guidelines.

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