Mr. Chow's Symphony

The Eccentric Restaurateur Reveals His Search for Perfection

Famed for his signature keyhole spectacles, schoolboy haircut and staccato manner, food world legend Mr. Chow invites filmmaker Alison Chernick into his kitchen. Ever since being introduced to a swinging 60s London, Mr. Chow’s iconic restaurants in New York and Beverly Hills have remained A-list hotspots, and his empire extends to Miami, Las Vegas and London. For decades he has served high-end Chinese cuisine via Italian waiters, accompanied by French wine and without a chopstick in sight to an endless list of stars - from Marlene Dietrich and Frank Sinatra, through Mick Jagger and Jackie O, to George Clooney and Gwyneth Paltrow. Celebrity guests dine surrounded by the proprietor’s collection of world-class contemporary art, including Warhols, Basquiats, Hockneys and Mapplethorpes. Son to one of China’s biggest stars, Zhou Xinfang, an actor in the Peking Opera, Mr. Chow’s sartorial and artistic precision struggle to contain the powerhouse of charisma and bravado that has placed him center stage among the world’s elite. “I found myself in boot camp, then realized this is a day in the life of Camp Chow,” says Chernick. “Obsessive perfectionism and underlying charm feed the phenomenon of Mr. Chow.”