The famed restaurateur Sylvia Wu, also known as Madame Wu, has passed away at the age of 106 on September 29, Deadline reports.
According to the Los Angeles Times, Wu was born on Oct. 24, 1915 in in Jiujiang, a city southwest of Shanghai. After World War II, the family moved to Shanghai and later Hong Kong. Eventually, they made their way to New York.
Wu attended Colombia University where she met her husband King Yan Wu. The couple and their three kids eventually moved to Los Angeles. According to The Hollywood Reporter, Wu was shocked by the number of inauthentic Cantonese dishes in LA when she arrived. She disliked that chop suey style restaurants dominated the Chinese food scene.
In 1959, Wu opened her first restaurant in Santa Monica, The Los Angeles Times reports. It was called Madame Wu’s Garden. Over the years, the elegant restaurant served a number of famous celebrities in Hollywood.
Wu eventually closed the restaurant in 1998 to spend more time with her family. According to The Los Angeles Times, she quickly regretted her decision and opened Madame Wu’s Asian Bistro & Sushi in the Grove. It closed shortly after opening.
Deadline reports that Wu continued to influence the American restaurant scene even after her own establishments closed through cookbooks and television shows. She was also greatly admired for her charity work.
Wu’s husband passed away in 2011, according to The Los Angeles Times. She is survived by her sons George and Patrick and several grandchildren.
AsAmNews is published by the non-profit, Asian American Media Inc. Please take advantage of a $30,000 matching grant challenge. An anonymous donor has offered to match dollar for dollar every tax-deductible donation made to Asian American Media Inc from November 1, 2023 until the end of the year. The money will be used to fund the addition of a new reporter and to produce content for limited English-speaking Asian immigrants. We are supported in part by funding provided by the State of California, administered by the California State Library in partnership with the California Department of Social Services and the California Commission on Asian and Pacific Islander American Affairs as part of the Stop the Hate program. To report a hate incident or hate crime and get support, go to CA vs Hate.