Tracy Chang’s love for the restaurant industry began at an early age at her grandmother’s Japanese restaurant in Cambridge. Her grandmother, Chin-Fun Shiue, immigrated to Boston in the 1980’s and decided to open not only one restaurant, but several. At an early age, Chang observed her grandmother’s hard work and leadership that created opportunities for other immigrants.
While earning her B.S. in Finance from Boston College, Chang worked jobs in various industries. Each job had a common focus: service and leadership. She co-founded the food and recipe column in the BC Heights with her roommate and often gathered friends and professors together to participate in making homemade dumplings, noodles and dessert.
Her hunger for restaurant experience led her to work at O Ya while she finished her finance degree. She sought to learn pastry from the crème de la crème, and went on to study with MOF Pâtissier Nicolas Bernardé at Le Cordon Bleu Paris. From Paris, she traveled south and over the border to Spain, where she won a scholarship to cook alongside Chef Martín Berasategui at his Michelin three-star restaurant in San Sebastian. Three months in to her scholarship with Berasategui, he offered her the rare opportunity to be his “mano derecha,” and she spent the rest of the year travelling alongside him to all events from Alicante to New York. She coordinated television production with Berasategui and David de Jorge on the set of Robin Food, as well as directed his public lectures, led his marketing and communications department, and launched his social media initiatives.
An unexpected family emergency led Chang to return to Boston, where she spent the next year taking care of her father and her pug, Phoebe. While she helped nurse her dear ones back to health, she re-grouped with her former O Ya co-workers to conceptualize and co-found Guchi’s Midnight Ramen, directing back of the house preparations as well as front of the house service and hospitality.
In the fall of 2012, Chang officially joined the Harvard Science and Cooking program as a teaching fellow. She coordinated public and student lectures with world-renowned chefs. She is still involved in the program, working with Professor Michael Brenner, Preceptor Pia Sorensen, the Alicia Foundation and Pere Castells, and visiting chefs from around the world.
Through hosting events in Boston and Cambridge in the tech and start-up scene, Chang not only met like-minded, visionaries with a common knack for gathering movers and shakers in the community, but also formed lifelong friendships. With the help of Jesse Baerkahn and his team at Graffito SP, she found the perfect home for PAGU on Mass. Ave., between Central Square and MIT, the hub of innovation.
Chang looks forward to feeding the community and continuing her grandmother’s legacy for many years to come. PAGU will be more than a restaurant, cafe and bakery. By bringing talented friends together over soulful food and sparkling conversation, Chang and her team will create boundless opportunities for collaboration and innovation.
Awards & Press
- James Beard Award