Born and raised in Beijing China, Shirley was exposed to international cuisine at an early age by her grandmother, Liang Si Yi, former Director of The Red Cross in China. Shirley immigrated to America at age 17 for college and worked in Silicon Valley for a few years after graduating. Shirley decided to follow her passion for food so she left her career in high tech behind and enrolled California Culinary Academy San Francisco. She is trained in classic French and Italian cuisine, worked and opened restaurants for Thomas Keller, Guy Savoy and Mario Batali. After she opened CarneVino as Chef de Cuisine for the Batali group, CarneVino earned multiple awards for Best Steak House internationally.
Prior to being a finalist on season 11 of “Top Chef” in New Orleans, she held the Executive Chef Position at China Poblano, by Jose Andres, which was nominated for the Best New Restaurant Award by the James Beard Foundation in 2011. While working at China Poblano, she fell in love with Mexican cuisine and learned more about her own heritage. In 2014, Shirley opened a restaurant in Orange County, Twenty Eight, featuring modern Chinese cuisine.
Shirley also competed on season 14 of BravoTV's Top Chef where she used the opportunity to showcase her Chinese American Cuisine. She was rewarded by being named the runner up of Top Chef.
Shirley brings the same lively energy to her cookbook, Chinese Heritage Cooking From My American Kitchen, that made her a fan-favorite on Top Chef. From growing up in Beijing to attending culinary school in California, to making her name in the restaurant world and on Top Chef, today Shirley is dishing out new and dazzlingly delicious takes on Chinese cuisine.