CULTIVATE: You were raised in Dayton, OH, where your parents owned a Chinese restaurant. You went on to work in both Eastern and Western-style restaurants around the globe before opening Blue Ginger in 1998. What are the major difference between East and West restaurant kitchens?
MING TSAI: The Chinese kitchen relies on woks, everything from boiling water to frying. A Western kitchen revolves around an island of burners, or the “piano,” as we call it. Also, in Eastern kitchens, there is a hierarchy; chefs on the lower end are in the back, while the most highly skilled chef is on full display of diners. But no matter where you’re located, you wear rubber boots up to your knees while standing on wooden slats, which are frequently hosed down to keep everything meticulously clean. At Blue Ginger, we fortunately don’t have to wash anything down with a hose [laughs].