2014 49¢ Joyce Chen
This stamp is part of a set of five that features men and women who introduced America to regional and international cooking. The other stamps picture James Beard, Julia Child, Edna Lewis, and Felipe Rojas-Lombardi.
“Joyce Chen belongs in everyone’s kitchen” reads the tagline for her original Chinese food company in the United States. Joyce Chen (1917-1994) learned to cook as a child in China. In 1949, she moved with her family from Shanghai to Cambridge, Massachusetts. The Chinese student population in her new hometown put Chen’s Asian dishes in high demand.
Soon, she was offering cooking classes and writing cookbooks. In 1958, she opened her first of four restaurants, pioneering the all-you-can-eat Chinese buffet. She introduced pot-stickers called Peking ravioli and dishes like moo shi pork, Peking duck, and hot-and-sour soup. One of Chen’s establishments was quoted as being “not merely a restaurant, but a cultural exchange center.” By the end of the 1960s, she had become a celebrity, starring in the internationally broadcast cooking show Joyce Chen Cooks.
Chen went on to patent the flat bottom wok with handle, or stir-fry pan, and marketed quality Chinese cooking utensils. She even bottled and sold her Chinese sauces, a tradition her son continues. Joyce Chen popularized northern-style Chinese cuisine in the United States, bringing new flavor to American kitchens.
Jason Seiler created the digital illustrations for the Celebrity Chefs stamps. The images were made to look like oil paintings.
49¢ Celebrity Chefs, issued to satisfy the first-class mail rate
Issue Date: September 26, 2014
City: Chicago, IL, as part of the Chicago Gourmet food and wine celebration
Printed By: Ashton Potter (USA) Ltd.
Printing Method: Lithographed printing in sheets of 180 with nine panes of 20 per sheet
Perforations: Serpentine Die Cut 11 X 10 ¾