CHOW: Janice Wong book launch at Sylvia Hotel

CHOW: Janice Wong has successful book launch at Sylvia Hotel

Janice Wong
wrote some stories about her father and his Chinese restaurant a few years ago as a gift for her family, and  paired them with his recipes that she had found.   Before she knew it, she had created a new genre of cookbooks.

“Janice knows a lot of people,” smiled Alicia Schlagg, Marketing coordinator for Whitecap Books. She was very pleased as author Janice Wong signed autographs and posed for pictures with family and friends.  It was a busy crowd at the Sylvia Hotel on Wednesday evening, Oct 12th.  Whitecap Books had taken over the restaurant, wine was served along with mandarin oranges, and many bouquets of unique flowers had been brought by admirers to mark this special
occasion.

I walked in and quickly spotted my grandmother, and her younger brother Dan Lee.  I greeted her cousin Josie (Janice Wong’s aunt), and Janice’s cousin Rick Lum.  These are all relatives that I had known and grown up with since I was a little boy.  At the same table sat Janice’s mother
Mary, who had flown in from Saskatoon.  I find it hard to believe that I only met Janice two months ago, when she e-mailed me looking for an e-mail list for the Rev. Chan family  descendants.

Who else did I see?  Larry Wong, now president of the Chinese Canadian Historical Association of BC.  Larry has arranged to have Janice present her book, along with Paul Yee at the Vancouver Museum on ???.  Larry will also be part of a panel discussion on growing up with chinese restaurants at the West Vancouver Memorial Library on Oct 18, where Janice Wong will present a slide show.  I will also be part of the presentation sharing my experiences of Chinese Restaurants, and the importance of Chinese food, as I have developed haggis wun-tun
and the Gung Haggis Fat Choy dinners.

Janice’s book, CHOW, really is amazing.  It is filled with pictures and stories about her father, her family, the restaurant where she grew up in Prince Albert Saskatchewan.  Recipes alternate with
pictures and stories, giving a context to how and when certain dishes would be created and served, as well as eaten.  The recipes come alive, as you can read the stories and imagine all the family members sitting around you, or her father Dennis Wong in the kitchen.

I opened the book and found stories about Great-grand uncle Luke who went to Hollywood and became an actor, starring and supporting in movies with Clark Gable and Gary Cooper.  A story about Rev. Chan Yu Tan, reveals the name of his wife Wong Chiu Lin, whom nobody in my
family could remember except as “Tai-poh” (great-grandmother) or as Mrs. Chan.

Harvey Lowe the Yo-Yo King, is a friend of Dennis Wong, inviting Janice’s father to go to England with him, but Dennis’s parents forbade him, never imagining that Harvey Lowe will go on to tour the world and perform yo-yo tricks on the Smothers Brothers TV show, for Nat King
Cole, and for royalty.

At the end of the evening, Janice is still beaming widely.  She is still signing autographs when I pull her away to take a family picture, because Aunt Josie and my grandmother – both in the 90’s have to leave. 

“Have you met Toddish McWong, yet?” Janice asks a friend.  She introduces me to her friends and says, “My friend Robin has wanted to meet you for years.”  She adds later, “We will have to get a table and attend the Gung Haggis Fat Choy dinner this time.” 

I think to myself, that there will be ways to feature CHOW at the dinner – maybe as a raffle prize or silent auction prize.  Imagine winning a private Gung Haggis Fat Choy dinner in your home with chefs Toddish McWong and Janice Wong, along with a copy of CHOW.

CHOW is an accessible recipe book, that is sure to be a Christmas gift for many people as it will be at home on the coffee table, next to the photo albums, or the kitchen.

pictures from the book launch and book review of chow to come….

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