Peter Chang is an award winning chef specializing in Szechwan cuisine who has cooked for restaurants in the American southeast. Chang was born in Hubei Province and trained in China, and cooked a meal for the Chinese president, Hu Jintao. He moved to the United States to work as the chef at the Chinese Embassy in Washington, D.C. Chang has disappeared and left restaurants, inspiring a group of fans to follow his movement in Internet discussion boards, such as DonRockwell.com and Chowhound.
In 2005, Todd Kliman reviewed Chang’s cooking at China Star in Fairfax, Virginia. By the time that review was published, Chang had moved to TemptAsian in Alexandria. At TemptAsian, Chang’s cooking became popular in discussion boards for food enthusiasts. In May 2006, Chang moved to China Gourmet/Szechuan Boy in Fairfax, Virginia, where Kliman again gave his cooking a strong positive review. Within two months, Chang left. In September 2006, Chang’s followers found him working at Tasty China in Marietta, Georgia. By early 2007, Chang had again disappeared. In 2008, Chang began working at Hong Kong House in Knoxville, Tennessee. A year later, Chang moved to Taste of China in Charlottesville, Virginia .
Chang left Taste of China on March 20, 2010, after a difference of opinion with the owner John Rong. He did cook for at least one night, March 25, at Tasty China in Atlanta, but by March 28 it was already reported that he was leaving Atlanta. That report quotes from an interview with Chang in which he expressed his desire for "a fancier restaurant with nice ambiance, finer service, and broad wine selection."
In September 2012, Peter Chang opened another restaurant in Williamsburg, Virginia on Richmond Road, near the campus of The College of William and Mary.
Chang is a master of peppers, no matter where they come from. He is also arguably the best Chinese chef in America and without a doubt the most intriguing one. For the better part of a decade, he crisscrossed the South, like an itinerant preacher seeding his gospel of scorching Szechuan fare. Chang would show up at a run-of-the-mill Chinese restaurant, hang his shingle on the wall, and transform the place almost overnight into, well, a madhouse. Diners came from far and wide, causing traffic jams in strip-mall parking lots and long lines out the door. When it all got too crazy, he and his family would disappear, often in the middle of the night.