10 Things You Might Not Know about Chef Joyce Chen

Get to know this Cambridge Chef!

Do you crave peking raviolis and love cooking dishes in your wok?  You can thank, Chef Joyce Chen for both of those things.  Immigrating to Cambridge from Beijing in 1949, Joyce Chen changed the way Americans and diners all over the world eat Mandarin Chinese cuisine.  

In preparation of the Dumpling Festival at the Central Flea in Central Square on September 23rd, we rounded up ten facts about one of Cambridge’s most influential and famous chefs, Joyce Chen:

  1. Joyce opened New England's FIRST Mandarin Chinese restaurant right here in Cambridge, Massachusetts.
  2. Joyce made authentic dishes like Peking Duck, Moo Shi Pork, Scallion Pancake, and Hot and Sour Soup popular in New England.
  3. She coined the term “Peking Raviolis" or "Ravs" for potstickers.  Now, the term is used throughout the world.
  4. Joyce patented the “flat bottomed wok,” which she called the Peking Wok.
  5. Joyce was the first chef to create two menus, one in Chinese and one in English.
  6. She also decided to number items on the menu. This helped ensure easier communication for Chinese and non-chinese restaurant workers.
  7. Joyce taught cooking lessons at the Cambridge Center for Adult Education in Harvard Square.
  8. She sold her bottled Chinese sauces to supermarkets in 1984.
  9. Joyce filmed her WGBH PBS series, Joyce Chen Cooks on the same set as Julia Child’s The French Chef. 
  10. Joyce Chen Cooks was the first national show to feature an Asian Star.


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