Past Perfect in Chelsea

family5

Lunchtimes, and at all times, Chen Lieh Tang can be glimpsed in his Chelsea kitchen leaning into steaming pots of Chinese egg noodles, mixing sauces, and teaching his cooks the tricks of his trade.

Since the March opening of his restaurant, Shorty Tang Noodles, on Eighth Avenue and 15th Street, the 64-year-old Tang has been in the kitchen every day, overseeing the making of each dish.

His son, James Tang, says he has a habit of micromanaging. Tang says he just loves to cook. He gets it from his father, the legendary chef Yun Fa Tang.

“Some people can cook for 20 years and still be lousy. For some people, it just takes two or three years to get the talent,” Tang said following a recent lunch rush. “My father, he had the talent.”

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