Monday, September 18, 2006

"People respond to sincerity."
says Prince Albert Daily Herald

Wong wins book award

People respond to sincerity.

When Janice Wong put down stories and recipes from her father's landmark Prince Albert restaurant, the Lotus Café, she never expected the response.

When the book came out, she was beset by interviews, others' personal anecdotes and now a national culinary book award.

Wong's book, Chow: from China to Canada: memories of food and family (Whitecap books 2006), won gold in Cuisine Canada and The University of Guelph's Canadian Food Culture category for books that best illustrate Canada's rich culinary
heritage and food culture.

When Wong first wrote the book, she was confused as to who her readers might be, she said in an interview from Vancouver, where she is a visual artist. "The original intention wasn't even to publish it," Wong said about her award-winning book. "It was something for my family. It was a labour of love and I think it comes across for people with that sincerity."

A lot of people have come up to Wong and told her their family story. She thought the book triggered it.

"I think it shows that Canadians have interesting stories to tell and we are just starting to tell them,"she said.

In Chow, Wong recounts the journey of her family from China to Canada, and the many stops through Vancouver, Victoria, Nanaimo and, finally, Prince Albert.

Wong's collection of photos, nostalgia and recipes is an illustrative history of a period of Chinese immigration to Canada, as well as the history of Prince Albert.

With the success of her first book, Wong has no definite plans to produce another. Most of the early part of 2006 was taken up with touring in support of the book, and she wants to devote more time to her studio visual artwork.

-Timothy Schafer, Prince Albert Daily Herald, September 21, 2006
photograph: Janice + Joe Wong, Prince Albert, 1960s

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