Eileen Yin-Fei Lo, celebrated Chinese chef dubbed the ‘Cantonese Julia Child,’ dies at 85

Eileen Yin-Fei Lo, celebrated Chinese chef dubbed the ‘Cantonese Julia Child,’ dies at 85

The celebrated chef published a total of 11 cookbooks and taught countless Americans how to cook traditional Chinese food

January 26, 2023
Celebrated Chinese chef and cookbook author Eileen Yin-Fei Lo has died at 85.
Lo died in her Montclair, New Jersey, home on Nov. 13, 2022. Her death was confirmed by her son, Stephen Ferretti, who shared the cause to be a heart attack, according to The New York Times
Throughout her career, Lo taught countless Americans how to cook traditional Chinese food at home, eventually publishing 11 cookbooks on Chinese cuisine and winning a James Beard Award.
Lo, who has been called the Cantonese Julia Child” and the “Marcella Hazan of Chinese cooking,” pushed “Cantonese cooking [to] become part of America’s culinary traditions,” Grace Young, a fellow chef who also specializes in Chinese cuisine, told The New York Times.
Born in Guangzhou, China, on May 4, 1937, Lo grew up cooking alongside her parents and grandmother. 
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In 1950, Lo and her family escaped the Chinese Revolution to Hong Kong, where she would learn English and professional cooking techniques from her aunt. Lo would also go on to meet her future husband, American journalist Fred Ferretti, there. The couple got married in 1959 and soon immigrated to Queens, New York, before settling down in Montclair. 
Lo, who received endless compliments on her cooking, started teaching cooking classes in her home in 1972. Her first cookbook, “The Dim Sum Book,” was published in 1981 and introduced “things that people weren’t aware of or exposed to [at the time],” Ferretti stated. Lo wrote about dishes such as siu mai, char siu bao and wontons.
During her career, Lo published a total of 11 cookbooks, with “Mastering the Art of Chinese Cooking” and “The Chinese Banquet Book” going on to win the International Association of Culinary Professionals Julia Child Award. 
Lo also became friends with chefs such as David Burke, who hired her to create a dim sum brunch menu at his restaurant in the 1990s. Known as a perfectionist, Lo would spend over 12 hours at a time there. 
“Everybody loved her,” Justin Schwartz, one of Lo’s cookbook editors in the 1990s, told The New York Times. “She’d come out with trays of 100 dumplings and just the most exquisite, incredible Chinese food [during Christmas Day lunches at her home].”
Lo’s dedication to traditional, authentic Chinese food seeped into both her everyday life and her recipes. 
From correcting fellow Chinese cooks at restaurants to refusing Schwartz’s suggestions of changing certain recipes, Lo “would put her foot down and say this has to be preserved, this is the way it is really done.”
Lo is survived by her granddaughter and her two sons, Stephen and Christopher.

      Iris Jung

      Iris Jung is a Reporter for NextShark




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