St. Louis Mourns the Death of the Legendary Proprietor of Chef Ma’s Chinese Connoisseur

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  • &#13 &#13 MABEL SUEN&#13 &#13
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  • &#13 Chef Ma will be remembered for his superb cafe, Chef Ma’s Chinese Gourmet.&#13
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The St. Louis food stuff scene has shed a single of its greats: Chef Ying Jing Ma, regarded as “Chef Ma,” died on August 5. Ma leaves at the rear of a legion of followers who arrived to know him for his culinary prowess above the decades, most lately at his Overland cafe, Chef Ma’s Chinese Connoisseur (10440 Web page Avenue, Overland 314-395-8797).

A consultant of Chef Ma’s Chinese Gourmet verified Ma’s passing to the Riverfront Situations, however they did not offer any facts out of regard for his loved ones. The representative emphasized that the cafe has ongoing to run because Ma’s passing and that, even in their grief, his workers are dedicated to continuing his legacy and system to keep the restaurant open, as he would have desired. &#13
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A veteran chef with several accolades (including his most prized award for a model of Iron Chef in Austin, Texas), Ma was identified for his broad appeal to each diners in search of excellent Chinese American fare as perfectly as these searching for classic Chinese dishes. He got his start out far more than 40 many years in the past in his native Hong Kong with Marriott Inns and opened attributes for the brand about the globe in this sort of areas as Singapore, Malaysia, Hawaii, Los Angeles and San Francisco. Ma arrived in St. Louis in the early 1990s to do the job for Mandarin Household, where by he ran the iconic restaurant’s huge banquet operation for a number of a long time. &#13
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In 2015, Ma struck out on his have, opening an unassuming cafe, Chef Ma’s Chinese Gourmand, in a previous Taco Bell in Overland. There, he acquired a track record for anything from his superb fish stew (which wasn’t often on the menu, but when it was not, he would carry it out on request), to 2 times-cooked pork, black pepper beef, pumpkin brown butter shrimp and his dwelling speciality, Hainan chicken. His mastery of flavor and fierce determination to perfection was evident in everything he did, even in ubiquitous American-style dishes like incredibly hot braised hen and Mongolian beef, whose sauces he insisted on cooking from scratch. Even when he moved the restaurant to its existing locale in Overland just a couple months back, he in no way wavered from his motivation to placing his best into all the things he did. &#13
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Joel Crespo, owner of Guerrilla Avenue Food stuff and typical visitor at Chef Ma’s Connoisseur Cuisine, remembers Ma as a single of the ideal cooks in city and an unsung genius in the city’s meals scene.&#13
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“He was so bold and a beast of a cook dinner,” Crespo suggests. “He had two menus — just one more of your standard Chinese takeout menu and a person that was much more reliable Chinese — and no issue no matter whether he was doing orange hen and crab rangoon or Hainan chicken and pumpkin shrimp, he would execute it with the similar perfection and consistency, and he would nail it every single time. It was generally clean, and I experience like he did it so easily. Dwelling the place I are living, there are hundreds of fantastic Chinese eating places with varying designs, and as considerably as I adore so a lot of of them, anytime somebody would request wherever was a superior Chinese area to go, I would generally advocate Chef Ma’s.”&#13
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For Crespo, Ma’s greatness prolonged outside of his skills as a chef.&#13
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“Just about every time you went there, it was him touching all the foodstuff and performing all of the cooking, no subject what day of the 7 days it was,” Crespo suggests. “He’d constantly be accomplishing five things — flipping woks and plating up dishes — but he would see you, and he would be personable and try to remember you and recall information of your life. I will recall that level of kindness. He was not just a masterful cook he was a form man or woman.”&#13
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Crespo also knows that kindness prolonged to the personnel at Chef Ma’s.&#13
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“My heart goes out to his relatives and to the folks at the restaurant,” Crespo states. “It appeared like they had been a shut-knit group, and I know how that is — regardless of whether they are real household or cafe family members, that is a specific romance, and I know how a great deal they are hurting. I would like them toughness and peace.”&#13
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A visitation for Ma will be held on Wednesday, August 18 from 10 a.m. right until noon at Valhalla Cemetery and Funeral Chapel. As for the cafe, it carries on to work with its regular hours, and his staff programs to do so indefinitely. Although grief-stricken, the agent from the cafe describes that it is the best way they know to honor the guy who focused his daily life to creating the planet a extra tasty location.&#13
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We are generally hungry for strategies and opinions. E mail the writer at [email protected]

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