Ming Tsai

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For other people with the same name, see Cai Ming.
Ming Tsai
Born (1964-03-29) March 29, 1964 (age 52)
Newport Beach, California
Education Yale University
Cornell University
Le Cordon Bleu
Culinary career
Cooking style Fusion
This is a Chinese name; the family name is Tsai.

Ming Tsai (Chinese: 蔡明昊; pinyin: Cài Mínghào; born March 29, 1964) is an American restaurateur, television personality, and celebrity chef of fusion cuisine.

Tsai currently hosts Ming's Quest, a cooking show featured on the Fine Living Network, and Simply Ming on American Public Television. He was eliminated in week 7 of the third season of the Food Network's cooking competition The Next Iron Chef.[1]


Early years[edit]

Tsai was born in Newport Beach, California, but was raised in Dayton, Ohio, where he attended The Miami Valley School.[2] He often helped his parents Stephen and Iris with their family restaurant, Mandarin Kitchen.[3][4]

Tsai transferred to Phillips Academy and later attended Yale University, where he was a member of the Phi chapter of the Delta Kappa Epsilon fraternity and graduated with a degree in mechanical engineering. He received a master's degree in hotel administration and hospitality marketing from Cornell University. He then attended culinary school at Le Cordon Bleu in Paris.[3][4]

Ming Tsai speaks four languages: English, Spanish, French, and Mandarin Chinese.[citation needed]

Tsai is married and has two sons, David and Henry, who are named after Chinese-American playwright David Henry Hwang. According to an investigation by the PBS program Finding Your Roots, he is a 116th-generation descendent of Huang Di.[5]


Tsai began his television career on chef Sara Moulton's cooking show while she had him fill in for one week for her. He then started his own show, East Meets West. In 1998, Tsai, along with his wife Polly Talbott, opened his first restaurant, Blue Ginger, in Wellesley, Massachusetts. Ming also hosted a half-hour cooking show on the Food Network called "East Meets West" from 1998 to 2003. On the show, he presented a blend of Asian-European fusion cuisine. Ming is the author of five cookbooks: Blue Ginger, Simply Ming, Ming's Master Recipes, Simply Ming in Your Kitchen, and Simply Ming: One-Pot Meals.[citation needed]

During the summer of 2004, Ming Tsai participated in a Zoom Out on ZOOM, a show distributed by PBS. In addition, he has been a guest star on the PBS children's television show Arthur in the episode "What's Cooking?" Tsai also guest starred on an episode of Top Chef. In 2000, Ming was #16 on the Most Beautiful People list published by People magazine.[6] In 2005 he was a judge on the PBS show Cooking Under Fire.[7]

Tsai battled Bobby Flay on Iron Chef America, Season 1, and won.[8] In March 2010 Tsai opened Blue Ginger Noodle Bar, a mini-restaurant, inside Blue Ginger.[9]

Tsai is a national spokesman for the Food Allergy & Anaphylaxis Network (FAAN); one of his sons has food allergies. He was the first chef in the United States to create a reference book that lists each allergen for every menu item. In 2010, Massachusetts became the first state to mandate that restaurants advise diners about food allergies and advise diners to notify servers of allergies, train staff on food allergies, and that managers have awareness training.[10]


Tsai was a squash player at Yale, playing number two for the team, and he was named as an All-Ivy League player in 1986.[11] While attending culinary school in France, Tsai played professionally on the European circuit.[citation needed]

Personal life[edit]

Tsai's squash coach at Yale, David Talbott, is now his brother-in-law, as is Mark Talbott, a former World No. 1 hardball squash player.[12] In 2004, Tsai played a celebrity squash match against professional golfer Brad Faxon at a Boston squash club. In 2005 he played against Mark Talbott in a charity match at a squash club in San Francisco.[citation needed]



  1. ^ "Meet The Next Iron Chef Season 3 rival Ming Tsai". Food Network. 2013. Retrieved January 28, 2013. 
  2. ^ "Ming Tsai '82 discusses new book at Books & Co.". The Miami Valley School. Retrieved May 16, 2013. 
  3. ^ a b "Biography". Ming.com. Retrieved May 16, 2013. 
  4. ^ a b "Ming Tsai". PBS. Retrieved May 16, 2013. 
  5. ^ "Finding Your Roots". Finding Your Roots. PBS. October 21, 2014. Retrieved March 28, 2015. 
  6. ^ "Ming Tsai: Chef". People. vol. 53 (18). May 8, 2000. Retrieved May 16, 2013. 
  7. ^ "About the series". PBS. Retrieved May 16, 2013. 
  8. ^ Iron Chef America website; accessed April 30, 2016.
  9. ^ "Ming Tsai Noodles Around at Blue Ginger". Zagat. March 18, 2010. 
  10. ^ "Massachusetts Restaurant Law Going Into Effect". Food Allergy and Anaphylaxis Network. Retrieved January 28, 2013. 
  11. ^ Zug, James. "Ming Sings: An Interview with Celebrity Chef Ming Tsai". Squash Magazine. Retrieved May 16, 2013. 
  12. ^ Tsai, Ming (January 28, 2012). "Squash, a Growing Sport, and Nutritious, Too". The New York Times. Retrieved May 16, 2013. 
  13. ^ "Blue Ginger Restaurant Inducted" (Press release). Culinary Hall of Fame. November 16, 2012. Retrieved May 1, 2013. 

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