Cecilia Chiang Documentary, ‘Soul of a Banquet,’ Out Oct. 21

'Soul of a Banquet' will be in select theaters beginning October 21

Countless American culinary figures owe their introduction to true Chinese cuisine to Cecilia Chiang.

On October 21, a documentary honoring Cecilia Chang will be available in select theaters and through video-on-demand and digital download.

Soul of a Banquet is dedicated to the culinary expertise and influence of Cecilia Chiang, the “matriarch of authentic Chinese cuisine in America,” whose students included James Beard, Alice Waters, and Julia Child.

Born in Shanghai in 1920, Chiang arrived in San Francisco in 1960 and went on to open The Mandarin, which became legendary for exposing the city to authentic Northern Chinese cuisine. Chiang sold The Mandarin in 1991, and the restaurant closed in 2006, leaving behind legions of fans who have not been able to replicate the experience of Chiang’s expertise.

In 2013, Chiang was honored with a Lifetime Achievement Award by the James Beard Foundation.

“She has this taste memory that goes back to a time that there aren’t a lot of people alive who remember the food of that China,” says Ruth Reichl in a clip from the film. “Cecilia is the history of China in almost the last hundred years.”

Watch the trailer below:

For the latest food and drink updates, visit our Food News page.


Karen Lo is an associate editor at The Daily Meal. Follow her on Twitter @appleplexy.