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A Full Plate

A Full PlateJust a few years after graduating from Tufts, Philip Wang is already earning a reputation as one of Boston’s most talented chefs. Boston.

Boston [03.28.03] Philip Wang is always moving. The up-and-coming chef has lived in seven different cities in the last nine years, working his way up the ranks of America's hottest restaurants. Now, the Tufts graduate is showing off his momentum - as executive chef of Truc, one of Boston's most talked about French Bistros.

"[Philip Wang] is a talent to watch," reported The Boston Herald. "His sophisticated, French-inspired, big-city fare could finally put Truc on the map...for keeps."

Wang - who graduated from Tufts in 1995 with a degree in anthropology - took an interest in cooking long before he came to campus. The Indiana native first discovered the pleasures of a fine-cooked meal in his mother's kitchen.

"My mom was probably the best cook I've ever seen," Wang told Boston's Weekly Dig. "I would come home from school and she would be pulling Peking duck out of the oven or have a pot of sauerkraut and kielbasa on the stove. My father loved food as well, so our family vacations were planned around what my dad wanted to eat."

Although the Tufts graduate has made a quick rise in the culinary world in just five years, he did not start out at the top. Wang's first job was at a restaurant where he cooked thirty 30-pound turkeys a day. He stayed only a week.

After attending the Culinary Institute of America in New York, Wang spent the next few years working under renowned chefs across the country - in San Francisco, Chicago and New York City. Wang says honing his culinary skills under top chefs has influenced his cuisine.

"If there's anything I learned from the people I worked for, it's that food should be balanced," Wang told the Herald. "Everything should be well rounded."

Now the executive chef at Truc - located in Boston's trendy South End - Wang has the opportunity to show off his innovative French entrees. His fare includes rabbit rillettes, grilled quail salad, and sautéed frogs' legs - a dish the Herald wrote is "as cosmopolitan and unorthodox an appetizer as Boston has ever seen."

The Tufts graduate relishes the creative control of being executive chef - but says it is also important to incorporate ideas from other sources.

"Everything that comes out of the kitchen is completely mine in terms of the final say," Wang told the Weekly Dig. "[But] everyone has input: the waiters, the cooks, and Karen Densmore, Truc's owner. The menu is full of ideas from everyone. One person can't have every idea or it gets stale."

Given his quick rise to the top, it's clear that Wang has a promising career ahead of him. But Wang says that he doesn't like to be judged by his youth - he'd rather let his food speak for itself.

"For me it's all about what you can do on the plate. I don't care if you're 10-years-old or 90, it's all about your food. I don't care if you're black or white or yellow or female, male, young or old," he told the Weekly Dig. "I don't care what you've done; it's what you do."


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