Tony (Xiaojun) Hu is a celebrity chef, restaurateur, culinary teacher, and community leader. In 1989, Tony Hu graduated from The Culinary Institute of Sichuan, the first culinary institute in China. Later in 1993, Chef Tony immigrated to the U.S. as a special technician and established himself in Chicago. Starting in 1998, Chef Tony formed Tony Gourmet Group that houses famous restaurants, including Lao Sze Chuan, Lao Beijing, Lao Shanghai, Lao You Ju Restaurant & Lounge, Lao Hunan, Lao Yunnan, Lao Ma la and more recently Lao 18.
Tony ’s primary goal is to promote Chinese culinary culture and Chicago Chinatown. He has been successively interviewed and reported by numerous main stream media such as ABC, CBS, NBC, WGN, FOX, and “Check Please” on WTTW; Chicago Tribune, Chicago Sun Times, Chicago Magazine, New York Sun Times, Crain’s Business Chicago, Time Out Chicago, World Journal, Singtao Daily, People’s Daily (Ren Min Ri Bao), Sichuan Daily, Chengdu Business Daily, Western China City Daily, Chengdu Business Daily, China Youth Daily, Hunan TV, Shanghai TV, etc. In addition, Chef Tony has been invited as a special instructor to teach Chinese cuisine on Channel 13 for over two years and was also invited to lecture at Chicago City Hall, Chicago Cultural Center, Beijing Chef Association, Sichuan International Food Festival, Northwestern University, The Culinary Institute of Sichuan, etc. to present Chinese cuisine and Chinese culture. Chef Tony has also been actively participating and supporting the Anti-Hunger Federation, Chicago Gourmet, Children’s Memorial Research Hospital and other meaningful fund raising events in the community and has also organized many community events in Chicagoland. Tony is also one of the Ambassador Chefs of Chicago and has visited Europe to promote Chinese cuisine and to present Chicago in 2009. His restaurants have received many awards such as “The Best Chinese Restaurant”, “The Most Authentic Chinese Food”, one of the “Top Ten Chinese Restaurant in the U.S.”, “Best Chinese Restaurant for Celebrating Chinese New Year” and the “International Famous Chinese Restaurant”, etc. And most recently, Lao Sze Chuan has been awarded 2012&2013 “Bib Gourmand” by the world’s most prominent food review authority Michelin Red Guide and received “Best Chinese Restaurant in the US” title from Travel & Leisure.
Aside from his restaurants, Tony Hu also devotes a large amount of his time to community services. He is the current President of the Chinese American Association of Greater Chicago (the largest non-profit Chinese organization in Chicago), President of Southwest Chinese Association, Vice President of the Chicago Chinatown Chamber of Commerce, Member of the Advisory Council of Illinois Restaurant Association and sits on the Board of Trustee of Roosevelt University, the VP of Chengdu Oversea Exchanges Association, the Commissioner of the Youth Committee of PRC Overseas Chinese Affairs, the commissioner of Beijing Overseas Chinese Federation, and sits on the Advisory Board of the Chinatown Special Events Committee. In addition, Tony was newly appointed by Mayor Rahm Emanuel as the Commissioner of Landmark. Because Tony’s tremendous contribution to his community and the promotion of Chinese culinary culture, he has received many personal awards such as the Asian Hall of Fame, Citi Bank Heritage Award, International Master Chef for Chinese Cuisine by the World Association of Chinese Cuisine, etc. Moreover, Tony has been awarded the 2nd Annual MLK Business Leader Award of 2010, one of the “Top Ten Chinese Entrepreneurs of Chicago”, the Oversea Dissemination Ambassador of Chengdu City of Gastronomy Association, The Most Influential Chef to Promote Asian Cuisine, Neighborhood Hero by Chicago Tribune, one of the “100 most powerful Chicagoans” by Chicago Magazine and “Lifetime Achievement Award” by TimeOut Chicago. Besides, Tony has been on magazine covers and has been the feature story for the World Chinese Weekly and the Chinese Restaurant News, etc.