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Food Celebrity, Author and Pacifican Shirley Fong-Torres Passes Away

Fong-Torres promoted Chinese cuisine in the Bay Area on television, walking tours and through her charisma.

This past weekend, Pacifican Shirley Fong-Torres passed away after a battle with leukemia, which she was diagnosed with a few months back.

What's special about her is she was a great Chinese cook and began her career on Public Channel 8 in Pacifica. Her show was called The Wok Wiz. I had the pleasure of working with her as I was part of the Channel 8 crew at the time. This was back in the '80s.

Shirley only became more famous working with chefs all around the world and creating walking tours of China Town in San Francisco, informing others and eating at the best places there. One tour was called "I Ate My Way Through China Town".

Shirley was full of life and had a great sense of humor. She came from a very talented family. Her brother is a famous writer, making his success at Rolling Stone in the '70s. He continues to write and is somewhat of a historian of the music scene.

--Carol Camacho

Fong-Torres's family has set up a Facebook page for friends and fans to share their fondest memories about her. Share yours.  

Kristin Aurilio June 21, 2011 at 06:55 PM
I am so shocked I talked to her last week and she never let on that she was that sick. I have been her friend and neighbor for many many years and will miss her.
Gabriela Segovia-McGahan June 21, 2011 at 07:15 PM
One of my best "team-building" memories with my former catering crew was during one of her Chinatown walking tours. We had so much fun that day and there was even a catchphrase created out of that experience that included my name. I don't know if she knew what a comedic influence she had on our group that day. Rest in piece, Shirley Fong-Torres.
Kim Spangler June 22, 2011 at 12:48 AM
Shirley and I became friends about 10 years ago and since then we've enjoyed Giants game, concerts, restaurant openings, shopping, meeting up in Hawaii for drinks, and talking about her beloved family, in particular her 2 granddaughters Maggie and Stella. Shirley was so energetic, humorous, and interesting that it was just fun to hang out with her. I am still in shock and disbelief that Shirley has left us as she was responding well to her chemo treatments up until a week ago. I do treasure the last 2 months in particular as I was able to spend quite a bit of time with her. She is greatly missed. ~ Kim
Chef German Lam June 23, 2011 at 09:38 PM
Our friendship started in Boston, when she was a guest Chef at Mirabelle Restaurant located on Boston’s trendy Newbury Street. I am lucky to have her as my friend! We had Dim Sum at Yank Sing when visiting SF a few years ago. Will Miss You A Lot!!!My prayers for you & your families!
Christine June 30, 2011 at 02:12 AM
Christine Roumbanis I was so sad to hear about Shirley. I met Shirley at Levi's where we both worked. We commuted together to work. She was one of the most positive people I have ever met. Full of fun and a love of life. I was totally shocked when my mom gave me the news that Shirley had left us. Her charismatic personality and the fun times I shared with her will be in my memory forever. She will be missed. Christine

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