Winter 2019

Chef, MD

Future surgeon Betty Liu, M19, also has a Shanghainese food cookbook in the works.

By Courtney Hollands

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Photo: Tony Luong

When Betty Liu, M19, left her native California to study architecture at Washington University in St. Louis, she missed her mother’s Shanghainese cooking. “My mom would freeze dumplings and stuff them in my luggage for a little taste of home away from home,” Liu said. But she soon realized if she wanted to eat the food she grew up with, she’d have to learn to make it. So, on college breaks, Liu would film her mom’s techniques for traditional dishes—such as zongzi, sticky rice with pork wrapped in bamboo leaves—and recreate the recipes. At the same time, Liu was teaching herself photography, and when she moved to Boston for a postdoc program and medical school in 2013 (along with her now-husband, Alexander Xu, SK18, M19), she parlayed her kitchen experimentation into an elegant food blog. Today, Liu is not only interviewing for surgery residencies, but she’s also writing, styling, and shooting her first cookbook for HarperCollins—focused on Shanghainese food, of course—due out in fall 2019. “I like working with my hands,” Liu said. “Cooking and medicine are both incredibly hands-on.”

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