Ying Jing Ma, acclaimed chef of Chef Ma’s Chinese Gourmet Restaurant, dies at 59 | Off the Menu







Chef Ma's Chinese Gourmet (copy)

A photograph of chef Ying Jing Ma overlooks the dining room Feb. 8, 2017, at Chef Ma’s Chinese Gourmet Restaurant in Overland. 




Ying Jing Ma, whose singular cooking in an erstwhile Taco Bell in Overland won him devoted customers and critical acclaim, died Aug. 4.

Ma was 59. The cause of death was not available.

The Hong Kong native made his name in St. Louis with Chef Ma’s Chinese Gourmet Restaurant, which opened in 2015 at 2336 Woodson Road, a former Taco Bell building that has since housed several independent restaurants.

In the restaurant’s original location, a photograph of Ma in crisp chef’s whites overlooked the small dining room. His menu featured both regional Chinese dishes — Hainan chicken rice was a signature item — and American Chinese fare.

Ma’s cooking drew praise from St. Louis food media. Among its plaudits, Chef Ma’s was a

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CNBC noted that Panda Express would be the very first restaurant that features an Asian concept to include Beyond Meat products on its menu. The new dish in the Chinese fast-food chain is called Beyond the Original Orange Chicken.

Beyond Meat in Panda Express

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Beyond Meat discontinued its original chicken alternative products in 2019, and the company is giving it’s chicken business another shot. It launched its vegan

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For Jennifer Jackson and Justin Tootla — who cooked Chinese food for a while at Chicago restaurant Thank You and later helmed the kitchen at seafood restaurant Voyager in Ferndale — something more personal means dishes inspired by the American South, India and South Africa. 

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But you are not. You are in one of the most famous restaurants in the world, and there’s a waiting list of 15,000 to watch those pots get broken tableside, before the beets are carved up, wrapped in mustard leaf kimchi, and served with red wine jus. The beets, which have been dehydrated, then rehydrated, smoked, cured, and otherwise alchemized over the course of three days, have a remarkably chewy, almost meaty texture. Their dirty sweetness is transformed into a rich, roasted masterpiece of a dish, the excitement of which wafts alongside the charred aromas as the pots are wheeled throughout the dining room.

After

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