George Chen, like many immigrants who come to the U.S., worked in the restaurant business as a way to help with expenses. He worked at many L.A. area restaurants and was even acknowledged by local press for his knowledge of Chinese cuisine.

Despite his natural talents, Chen didn’t think he’d end up working in the food business full time as he saw the challenges of the industry first-hand during his formative years. He earned degrees in Neurobiology and Psychology at UC Berkeley, but went to work for Wall Street. His securities industry job required extensive travel to all parts of Asia, where he discovered local flavors that were not seen back in the States. Following these years of travel, he decided to follow his culinary passion and opened Betelnut in 1995 in San Francisco, which went on to garner numerous awards and acclaim. – CAAM (02.19.16)