FAMILY LEGACY, SOULFUL FOOD, & SPARKLING CONVERSATIONS
Tracy Chang’s fondest childhood memories are those from her grandmother’s Japanese restaurant in Cambridge. Chin-Fun Shiue immigrated to Boston in the 1980's and after having been a midwife her entire professional life in Taiwan, she decided in her late 60s, to open restaurants in Boston. She opened several, including the area’s premier Japanese restaurant in the 1990s, Tokyo Restaurant, where acclaimed sushi chefs like Toru Oga of Oga’s in Natick and Shinji Muraki of Toraya in Arlington, trained before opening their own establishments. At an early age, Tracy observed how her grandmother’s hard work and leadership created opportunities for other immigrants, who in turn helped build a hearth for the multicultural community with tasty food and gracious hospitality. It was no wonder that Tokyo’s regulars included culture influencers like Yo Yo Ma, Pat Morita, and Julia Child.
While earning her B.S. in Finance from Boston College, Tracy worked jobs in various industries, all with a focus on service and leadership, with stints in healthcare, sports and coaching. She co-founded the food and recipe column in the BC Heights with her roommate, and often hosted study groups, dinner parties and dimsum outings with friends and professors, gathering folks to participate in making homemade dumplings, noodles and dessert.
Ultimately, her hunger for restaurant experience led her to work at O Ya while she finished her finance degree. She sought to learn pastry from the crème de la crème, and went on to study with MOF Pâtissier Nicolas Bernardé at Le Cordon Bleu Paris. From Paris, she traveled south and over the border to Spain, where she won a scholarship to cook alongside Chef Martín Berasategui at his Michelin three-star restaurant in San Sebastian. Three months in to her scholarship with Berasategui, he offered her the rare opportunity to be his “mano derecha”, and she spent the rest of the year travelling alongside him to all events from Alicante to New York. She coordinated television production with Berasategui and David de Jorge on the set of Robin Food, as well as directed his public lectures, lead his marketing and communications department, and launched his social media initiatives.
An unexpected family emergency led Tracy to return to Boston, where she spent the next year taking care of her father and her pug, Phoebe, who required spinal cord surgery. While she helped nurse her dear ones back to health, she re-grouped with her former O Ya co-workers to conceptualize and co-found Guchi’s Midnight Ramen (GMR), directing back of the house preparations as well as front of the house service and hospitality. Their GMR collaborators included Bondir, No. 9 Park, Sportello, Stir, The Gallows, JM Curley, MIT, The West End House Boys and Girls Club, Bocoup, Adelphic Mobile, Locately, Harvard Business School, The Barbara Lynch Foundation, 3 Princes Consulting and TEDxCambridge.
In the fall of 2012, Tracy officially joined as a teaching fellow with the Harvard Science + Cooking program. She coordinated public and student lectures with world-renowned chefs such as Ferran Adria, Jose Andres, Bill Yosses, Joan, Jordi and Josep Roca, Enric Rovira, Andoni Luis Aduriz, Nathan Myhrvold, David Chang, Daniel Humm, Mark Ladner, Carles Tejedor, Pere Planaguma, and Nandu Jubany. She is still involved in the program, working with Professor Michael Brenner, Preceptor Pia Sorensen, the Alicia Foundation and Pere Castells, and visiting chefs from around the world.
Through hosting events in Boston and Cambridge with friends in tech, arts and university, Tracy not only met like-minded, visionaries with a common knack for gathering movers and shakers in the community, but also formed lifelong friendships. With the help of Jesse Baerkahn and his team at Graffito SP, she found the perfect home for PAGU, 310 Mass. Ave., nestled between Central Square and MIT, the hub of innovation.
Tracy is excited to feed the community and continue her grandmother’s legacy. The curated experiences at PAGU are not only unearthing the delicious nostalgia of Tracy’s upbringing, culinary work and travels, but also a further digging nd and She looks forward to cultivating more than a restaurant, cafe and bakery. By bringing talented friends together over soulful food and sparkling conversation, they will create more opportunities for collaboration and innovation.
Interested in joining the PAGU team?