Tommy Chung Oral History
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Born in the Santa Barbara area in 1942, Tommy Chung and his family moved to the Presidio neighborhood after the construction of his father’s restaurant – Jimmy’s Oriental Gardens – was completed in 1946 and an attached dwelling for the family was completed in 1947. During his childhood, the neighborhood was at its peak of ethnic diversity, and his memories of living and working at Jimmy’s and seeing Santa Barbara transition to what it is today offer a unique perspective into life in Santa Barbara from the 1940’s on.
Above Photo: Tommy showing off his cooking techniques in the Jimmy's kitchen (2007).
Clip 1: Tommy describes moving to Santa Barbara in 1947 and the buildings that Elmer Whittaker built to rehouse Chinese businesses and apartments in the late 1920’s.
Clip 2: Tommy shares his father’s story, and the decisions that led to him opening Jimmy’s Oriental Gardens.
Clip 3: Tommy describes how being a “typical Chinese family” translated to living in Santa Barbara behind his father’s restaurant.
Clip 4: You'll never ride a Greyhound bus the same way again after hearing Tommy describe the noodle delivery system!
*To hear the entire oral history interview or additional clips, please make an appointment with the Presidio Research Center at (805) 966-5073.
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Also Present: Anne Petersen