The Mandarin Grill
& Sushi Bar
The original Mandarin Restaurant was opened in 1978 and was located in the Beaverdale neighborhood of Des Moines. While in its original location, it helped to create untold amounts of unforgettable memories across every life stage. Unfortunately, catastrophe struck with the Floods of 1995 and 2008, of which Mandarin was not spared the devastation.
Grandma Sue – Jade’s Mom, Chef K.’s mother-in-law, and former owner of the Mandarin in Beaverdale – was born in 1927. She is the mother of three children, grandmother to four, and great grandmother to three; all keep her very active. She also remains, to this day, a culinary master. She still handmakes appetizers, teaching family and friends about the “old country,” and what it takes to make great Chinese foods: fresh ingredients, skillful hands, and a love for food that includes a passion for eating them.
Master Chef Kevin C. (“Chef K.”) was born in South Korea after his parents defected from China. He was raised in the same refugee camps as his wife, Jade, in Pusan. He frequently tells the story that this is where he fell in love with his wife during middle school; Jade tells a very different version of this story.
Chef K. eventually went to study architecture in Tokyo, Japan. As a poor student, he was unable to provide, much beyond the basics for himself, so he found a position as a dishwasher in a prestigious hotel in Tokyo. It was there that an 18-year old Chef K. was taken under the wing of the hotel’s Master Chef. He was taught the art of sushi and many other culinary delights and techniques. Chef K. left Tokyo, much richer in culinary knowledge and know-how, and went to Taiwan. He immigrated to the United States in the 1970s.
Jade, Grandma Sue, along with the rest of the family defected to Taiwan from South Korea. While in Taiwan, Jade played professional basketball in the National Taiwanese team. The family finally received the proper visas, the family immigrated to America in the late 1970s and early 1980s. Jade established a well-received family restaurant and welcomed Chef K. into its arms when he immigrated to the United States. Soon, two separate futures entwined, and Jade and Chef K. got married. Eventually, they would welcome into the family their children and are now proud grandparents to three. Their passion is for their grandchildren and the joy they bring, as well as for the culinary masterpieces that are known of the Mandarin.
Chef K. is a long-established leading culinary artist, having the ability to introduce new Asian cuisines to Mandarin’s patrons. He has also had the privilege to offer his culinary talents in creating Asian dishes to President Xi Jinping of China, including his diplomats and staff. Chinese Olympic gymnasts, undergoing training at nearby Chow’s Gym, have also sampled Chef K.’s cuisines. We must not forget the innumerable amazing local patrons, some of whom travel over three hours, have helped make Mandarin a household name.