Filled with pathos and humor, “Holy Shitake: A Wok Star is Born” chronicles Chef Katie Chin’s true journey as a fish-out-of-water Chinese American girl growing up in Minneapolis, where she was raised by my mother, seamstress-turned-restaurateur Leeann Chin. A true warrior, her late mother overcame incredible obstacles and adversity having been in an arranged marriage to her emotionally abusive husband while raising 6 children making 50 cents an hour as a seamstress. Through it all, she found solace through cooking and built a $50 million dollar Chinese restaurant empire through an extraordinary twist of fate involving 007 himself, Sean Connery.
When Katie’s life falls apart in my mid-30s after her divorce, her mother comes to her rescue through cooking instruction. After a dream in which the Kitchen God visits her, Katie decides to leave her career as a film marketing executive to carry her mother’s torch. In the quiet moments alone cooking together, her mother opens up to her about her life in China; stories filled with heartache and resilience. A magical mother-daughter bond is formed and they embark on a culinary journey together appearing the Today Show, the Food Network and in their own PBS series, “Double Happiness.” A time filled with east meets west tension and humor, Katie as the bumbling American born daughter and her mother as the tough as nails tiger mom boss. Through it all, her wish for Katie is to fly from her Bird’s Nest Soup.
After her mother’s death, Katie is forced to make a choice that drastically changes her life. After her mother’s death, a pivotal turning point presents itself and Katie is forced to make a choice. In this emotional love letter to her mother, Katie finally learns to love herself and embrace her heritage by honoring her mother’s culinary legacy.