Pizza Hut building became home to upscale Chinese restaurant – The Morning Sun

Mary Hsia thought she was hiring a new chef for Mt. Pleasant which has been around for a long time. When he found her kitchen too small to function, she bought him a whole new restaurant.

Hsia hopes to have her second restaurant in Mount Pleasant by the end of the year in what was until January 2021 Pizza Hut, 1216 S. Mission St.

It will be a fine dining restaurant called China Master. While its current restaurant, China Garden, leans heavily toward a more casual menu, China Master will provide a seating environment that Hsia hopes to secure its liquor license.

The restaurant is built around its new chef, HJ Jan. Jan has had a long, storied career as a chef who started out doing cooking shows in his native Taiwan. He learned, in fact, from the man who cooked for Chang Kai-Shek, who led Taiwan after leaving the Chinese mainland after the Communists seized power in 1949.

Gan said he learned to cook from all the regional cuisines in China, including Sichuan, Hunan, Shanghai, Cantonese and Beijing.

In fact, he has won a number of awards over the years in global competitions, he said. While working in Washington, D.C., he also cooked for President Jimmy Carter’s state dinner.

Then he got into the restaurant business, where he stayed for several years. He said he’s run several, including some in New York City.

Presentation plays a large role in Jean’s work, including the intricate carvings of watermelons and various types of winter squash. It takes hours, and sometimes he gives up rest and food to finish.

“Once it starts, it doesn’t stop,” Hsia said.

When I hired him, she said he was in Ann Arbor. Originally, she was looking for a new chef to manage China Garden after considering retirement for several years.

He came to Mount Pleasant, took a look at the restaurant’s kitchen and said he was too young to work in it.

Last year, they envisioned the master of China. Pizza Hut closed in January 2021 and is of a good size and location for the new restaurant.

There is rebuilding work to be done, inside and out. Hsia said she hired an architect from New York to return both, which she said would take two to three months to complete.

It will have a new look, which also sets it apart from the China Garden, which apart from the new kitchen looks very much the same when it opened in 1987. Hsia bought it from the original owner in 2002.

They’re still working on the menu, though Jan said he expects dim sum to be on it.

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