How did Ming Tsai start MingsBings? Netflix's Iron Chef's life story explored

MingsBings Ming Tsai to appear on Iron Chef airing on June 15 (Image via mingtsai/Instagram)
MingsBings Ming Tsai to appear on Iron Chef airing on June 15 (Image via mingtsai/Instagram)
Parul Singh

Iron Chef Ming Tsai started “Vegan & Gluten-Free” MingsBings after his wife, Polly, was diagnosed with Stage 4 lung cancer in 2017. After the diagnosis, his wife switched “to a strict vegan diet with the hope of lowering inflammation by using food as medicine.”

Ming Tsai was then on a mission to create “delicious vegan option” not only "to help his wife heal," but also to “help people in search of a plant-based diet find alternatives that not only nurtured the body, but delighted the taste buds.”

His first product is a delicious veggie patty full of healthy food that can be prepared quickly and eaten on the go.

All about Ming Tsai from Netflix's Iron Chef

Ming Tsai is a chef and a restaurateur who loves “sharing the wonders of East-West cuisine, and helping you eat super well, super easily.” He is also the host of the longest-running cooking show on PBS, Simply Ming. After 20 years on PBS, he launched “Plant-Powered Pockets” MingsBings.

The Dayton, Ohio native began cooking in his early years. During his childhood days, Tsai would spend hours cooking alongside his mother and father at their family-owned restaurant, Mandarin Kitchen. Through his experience, he learned about restaurant operations and the art of making everyone happy through food.

He attended high school at Phillips Academy, Andover, following which he joined Yale University and graduated with a degree in Mechanical Engineering. Tsai did not leave his passion for cooking. Over the summer, he attended Le Cordon Bleu cooking school along with apprenticing at restaurants in Paris.

After graduation, the food lover moved to Paris to train under renowned pastry chef Pierre Herme. He then traveled to Osaka to train with Sushi Master Kobayashi.

To polish his culinary skills and make them precise, he enrolled at Cornell University in the US and earned a Master’s Degree in Hotel Administration and Hospitality Marketing in 1989.

After years of learning and training, Tsai opened his restaurant Blue Ginger in 1998 in Wellesley, Massachusetts. His restaurant’s innovative East-West cuisine impressed the diners and in its first year of opening, his restaurant earned 3 stars from The Boston Globe. Boston Magazine also named it the best new restaurant and in 1998, the James Beard Foundation also named Blue Ginger the best new restaurant. Tsai was also named the Chef of the Year by Esquire Magazine.

The accolades did not stop there. In 2007, his restaurant received the "Ivy Award from Restaurants & Institutions for its achievement of the highest standards in food, hospitality, and service,” as per his official website. In 2009, Tsai and Blue Ginger won IFMA’s Silver Plate Award.

It was also named “one of the 50 Best Restaurants” by Boston Magazine in 2012. But after 19 years of excellence, Tsai closed the eatery in June 2017 “to pursue other opportunities.”

In early 2013, the chef opened his second restaurant, Blue Dragon, an Asian gastro pub. This eatery was also named one of Zagat’s “24 New Restaurants You Need to Know About Around the US” and one of Esquire Magazine’s “Best New Restaurants 2013”.

In 2000, Tsai was named on People Magazine's 50 Most Beautiful People list.

Ming Tsai's other ventures

Tsai began his TV career as a host with Food Network’s East Meets West with Ming Tsai. Following this, his other cooking adventure series, Ming’s Quest also aired on the network.

He is well known as the host of the PBS cooking show, Simply Ming, which has received two Emmy nominations for Outstanding Culinary Program and Outstanding Lifestyle/Culinary Host. He is also the show's executive producer. It is one of the longest-running cooking shows on PBS.

Other than being a host, Tsai is also an author. He has written five cookbooks: Blue Ginger, Simply Ming In Your Kitchen, Simply Ming, Ming’s Master Recipes and Simply Ming One-Pot Meals.

Stream Iron Chef on June 15, Wednesday to see Tsai's culinary skills in the cooking competition.

Edited by Somava


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