Carolyn Phillips is fluent in Chinese, having lived and worked in Taiwan for eight years. Her appreciation of everything from Chinese haute cuisine to street snacks provided her with rare entrée into local society. She met and dined with gourmands and scholars there who helped her understand the nuances of China’s varied cuisines, and discussed dishes with famous epicures such as the renowned artist Chang Dai-chien. She also pestered proprietors of local restaurants and food stalls into handing over their family recipes and secret techniques.
Following her return to the States, Phillips became a Mandarin interpreter for the state and federal courts, working with attorneys on multimillion-dollar lawsuits and federal cases.
During her off hours she ferreted out traditional recipes and classic cooking styles. Phillips retired from the courts five years ago to devote herself fully to food writing. Her upcoming book on Chinese cuisine will be published by McSweeney's in 2014. Her work can also be found in such well-known food writing venues as Lucky Peach and Pork Memoirs.
You can follow Phillips on her blog, MadameHuang.com, as well as on Facebook and Twitter (@MadameHuang). An accomplished artist with a junior black belt in kickboxing, she is a member of the IACP and lives in California with her husband of three decades, the author J. H. Huang.