About the author:
A cofounder of the Asian American Writers’ Workshop in New York City, Curtis Chin served as the nonprofit’s first executive director. He went on to write for network television before transitioning to social-justice documentaries. Chin has screened his films at over six hundred venues in sixteen countries. He has written for CNN, Bon Appétit, and the Boston Globe’s Emancipator. A graduate of the University of Michigan and a former visiting scholar at New York University, Chin has received awards from ABC/Disney Television, the New York Foundation for the Arts, the National Endowment for the Arts, and more.
In Everything I Learned, I Learned in a Chinese Restaurant, nineteen eighties Detroit was a volatile place to live, but above the fray stood a safe haven: Chung’s Cantonese Cuisine, where anyone—from the city’s first Black mayor to the local drag queens, from a big-time Hollywood star to elderly Jewish couples—could sit down for a warm, home-cooked meal. Here was where, beneath a bright-red awning and surrounded by his multigenerational family, filmmaker and activist Curtis Chin came of age; where he learned to embrace his identity as a gay ABC, or American-born Chinese; where he navigated the divided city’s spiraling misfortunes; and where—between helpings of almond boneless chicken, sweet-and-sour pork, and some of his own, less-savory culinary concoctions—he realized just how much he had to offer to the world, to his beloved family, and to himself.
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