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  • Writer's pictureThe Beverly Arts

Celebrity Chef and Restaurateur Tony (Xiaojun) Hu is Nominated for LABA Icon Award

Updated: Sep 27, 2023

Celebrity chef and restaurateur Tony (Xiaojun) Hu

Beverly Hills, California, USA. 2nd September, 2023. Tony (Xiaojun) Hu, a celebrity chef, restaurateur, and community leader, has been nominated for LABA Icon Award. Originally from China, Mr. Hu graduated from The Culinary Institute of Sichuan in 1989, the first culinary institute in China. He later immigrated to the U.S. and established himself in Chicago, opening restaurants and promoting Chinese culinary cuisine. Also known as "Chef Tony," he was one of the first to bring Sichuan cuisine to the Midwest in 1998, and was instrumental in building Chicago’s Chinatown into what it is today. He has become an icon for his community, teaching culinary classes and providing outreach services to those in need, earning the him title of the "Mayor of Chinatown." His restaurants now have over 30 locations in Chicago and the U.S. with the goal of bringing the worlds of art, culture, and cuisine together for a memorable dining experience.

Mr. Hu is the Founder and Chairman of the U.S.-China Restaurant Alliance (, Founder and Chairman of Lao Sze Chuan USA Group (, Founder and Chairman of Hu’s International Group, Ambassador of the City of Chengdu in Sichuan, China, Overseas Vice President of Overseas Chinese Chamber of Commerce in Beijing, China, Co-Chairman of the Sichuan Cuisine Committee of the World Federation of Chinese Food Industry, Honorary Chairman of the Chinese American Association at Greater Chicago, and has held many other prominent positions in the community, food and restaurant industry. Mr. Hu has served as a Trustee of Roosevelt University, a member of the Landmark Committee of Chicago City Government, an advisory member of the Chicago City Government Tourism Committee, an Executive Director of the Illinois Restaurant Association, the Vice President of the Chinese Chamber of Commerce in Chicago, the President of the Chinese American Association at Greater Chicago and Chairman of the Board of Directors, President of the Chinese Association of Chinese in the Southwest of China, Chairman of the North American Entrepreneur Committee of the World Chinese Food Industry Federation, among others.

Mr. Hu has received many honors and awards including the Global Community Oscar Award, the Outstanding Community Leader Award presented by US Congressman Danny Davis, the "Lifetime Achievement Award" by Time Out Chicago magazine, and the Community Hero Award by Chicago Tribune newspaper. Chicago magazine has twice selected Mr. Hu as one of the Top 100 most influential people, the only Chinese American recognized, for "having done more than anyone to educate Chicagoans about Chinese culture—through food." He has been shortlisted twice on the Top 20 list of CCTV Global Chinese Light. WGN World News designated him as their image spokesperson for "Chicago's very own chef and restaurateur." He was awarded the American Asian Distinguished Leader Award, Martin Luther King Jr. Distinguished Leader Award, Chicago Chinese Chamber of Commerce’s 2nd Tan Jiping Distinguished Community Leader Award, Promoting Asian Catering Personality Award, Sichuan Cuisine Development 15 Years Most Influential Person Award, Sichuan Cuisine Development Leading Figure Award, the Outstanding Contribution Award for Promoting Chinese Food Culture in the World, the Top Ten Chinese Entrepreneur Award in Chicago, the Community Outstanding Contribution Award issued, entered into the Asian Hall of Fame, and won the Citibank Outstanding Community Service Contribution Award. The World Federation of Chinese Food and Beverages named him "International Master Chef of Chinese Cuisine," and he was honored with the Top Ten Impressive Sichuan Cuisine Characters Award (Lao Sze Chuan was also named the Top Ten Sichuan Cuisine Brands), etc.

Lao Sze Chuan ( is a restaurant he founded in Chicago in 1998, with locations in Chicago, Washington, Minnesota, Houston, Connecticut, and Ohio. In 2000, Lao Sze Chuan was awarded "Three Forks" by the Chicago Tribune, the highest accolade for Chinese restaurants at that time. In 2009, Lao Sze Chuan was rated as one of the top ten Chinese restaurants in the United States by the "American Chinese Cuisine Newsletter." In 2013, it was named the best Chinese restaurant in America by Travel & Leisure magazine. In 2015, it was named the No.1 Chinese Restaurant in the United States by food website "The Daily Meal," and was also named the No. 1 Take-Out Restaurant in the United States. It has been listed as one of the best Chinese restaurants in the United States by "Thrillist" and Time Out magazine and has been awarded the Michelin Bib Gourmand Award seven consecutive times. The most highly rated dishes are Peking Duck, Chef’s Special Dry Chili Chicken, Sheng Jian Bao (Pan-Fried Buns), and Xiao Long Bao. June 21, 2023 was designated as Houston’s “Lao Sze Chuan Day" by Mayor Mr. Turner of Houston, Texas. Mr. Hu has been interviewed by major TV stations such as NBC, ABC, FOX, CCTV, and WGN, newspapers and magazines including the Chicago Tribune, Chicago Sun, Chicago magazine, and many others.

The Beverly Arts News is sponsored by The Beverly Arts Foundation



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