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Peter Chang is an award winning chef specializing in Szechwan cuisine who has cooked for restaurants in the American southeast. Chang was born in Hubei Province and trained in China, and cooked a meal for the Chinese president, Hu Jintao. He moved to the United States to work as the chef at the Chinese Embassy in Washington, D.C. In the past, Chang has disappeared and left restaurants, inspiring a group of fans to follow his movement in Internet discussion boards, such as DonRockwell.com and Chowhound.
After leaving the Chinese Embassy and until early 2005, Chang was cooking at China Star in Fairfax, Virginia. At that time he moved to TemptAsian in Alexandria. At TemptAsian, Chang’s cooking became popular in discussion boards for food enthusiasts and was favorably reviewed by among others Todd Kliman, a local restaurant critic. In May 2006, Chang moved to China Gourmet/Szechuan Boy in Fairfax, Virginia, where Kliman again gave his cooking a strong positive review. Shortly after that review was published, Chang disappeared. In September 2006, Chang’s followers found him working at Tasty China in Marietta, Georgia. By early 2007, Chang had again disappeared. In 2008, Chang was found working at Hong Kong House in Knoxville, Tennessee. A year later, Chang moved to Taste of China in Charlottesville, Virginia .
Chang left Taste of China on March 20, 2010, after a difference of opinion with the owner John Rong. He did cook for at least one night, March 25, at Tasty China in Atlanta, but by March 28 it was already reported that he was leaving Atlanta. That report quotes from an interview with Chang in which he expressed his desire for "a fancier restaurant with nice ambiance, finer service, and broad wine selection."
Chang attributes his frequent change in restaurants to dissatisfaction with working conditions and a “desire to give various regions of America an opportunity to taste authentic Szechuan cooking.”
On December 19, 2010, he reappeared with his new restaurant, Peter Chang's Tasty China II, which opened on Powers Ferry Road, in the northwestern sector of Atlanta just off I-285. As of August 11, 2014 the Tasty China II Powers Ferry Location is Closed.
On March 1, 2011 Chang opened Peter Chang's China Grill in Charlottesville, Virginia. The restaurant was open that night for invitees only. The restaurant had its grand opening to the public on March 2, 2011.
Peter Chang opened Peter Chang's China Grill restaurant in Short Pump, a suburb of Richmond, Virginia on W. Broad St. in early 2012 called Peter Chang's China Cafe. In 2012,China Grill was labelled by Bon Appétit as one of the 500 Best New Restaurants in America.
Chang has twice been asked to cook at the James Beard House in New York City, as part of their guest chef series. These events took place in January 2012 and February 2013.
Olive Productions, an independent film production company with Stanley Tucci, Steve Buscemi, and Wren Arthur as its principles, had expressed interest in making a film based on Chang's movements and the group of followers who pursued him. Fox Searchlight Pictures was involved. The film was tentatively named "Where's Chang." A screenplay was produced, written by Oscar-winning screenwriter John Patrick Shanley. Members of this group met at Chang's restaurant in Atlanta on Oct. 28, 2011 for lunch. However, the project has not moved forward and while information about it once appeared in the New York Times movie database it has since been removed.
On July 14, 2013, Andrew Zimmern and his production crew for his show Bizarre Foods America shown on the Travel Channel taped several hours of material at Chang's restaurant in Short Pump, Va. The show (Season 5, episode 3) aired on Nov. 18th, 2013.