The Brooklyn Jew who helped shape Chinese cuisine in the U.S.

Ed Schoenfeld, co-owner of RedFarm, an unassuming New York hotspot that promises “Chinese cuisine with greenmarket sensibility”, sits at a table in his restaurant, sinking his teeth into a pastrami egg roll. Schoenfeld is something of an anomaly — a Jewish guy from Brooklyn who has reached the summit of the Chinese food world. His smattering of Cantonese has what he calls “a Brooklyn accent,” and on this day he is clad in red suspenders, a red-striped shirt and red-rimmed glasses. (He earned the vaguely mobsterish nickname “Eddie Glasses” because he has the same outfit in eight different colors.) At 62, the serial restaurateur and restless impresario is lauded as an authority on haute Chinese cuisine.

Indeed, RedFarm, which has been open for less than a year, serves such offbeat dishes as Pac-Man dumplings and Kowloon filet mignon tarts. It may be, however, the auspicious Year of the Dragon, which begins on January 23, that proves Schoenfeld’s most successful. With RedFarm as the flagship, Schoenfeld plans to revolutionize Chinese delivery in New York and to develop a premier, nationally recognized Asian grocery line, placing him among the ranks of Jewish Chinese food moguls like Eddie Scher, creator of the Soy Vay sauces, and the Epstein family, founders of Kari-Out, the largest distributor of soy sauce packets in America. In the more immediate future, he hopes to bring a new RedFarm restaurant to a major epicenter of Jewish Chinese fressing — Manhattan’s Upper West Side.


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