7/14/12

A Yosemite Mountain Named in Honor of A Chinese Chef

 Tie Sing, a 21-year veteran cook of the U.S. Geological Survey,Yosemite National Park 1909. 
 Photo Source: U. S. Geological Survey Photographic Library.




 
           Tie Sing was a talented Chinese camp cook at Yosemite in whose honor a 10,000+ ft. mountain in Yosemite National Park was named Sing Peak in 1899.

Tie Sing, a marvelous camp cook whom Mather had borrowed from the U.S. Geological Survey for the occasion, would construct a dining table, usually out of logs, and then . . . a linen table cloth would show up, and real napkins for everybody. Tie Sing would put together his collapsible stoves and calmly prepare soup, lettuce salad, fried chicken, venison and gravy, potatoes, hot rolls, apple pie, cheese, tea and coffee.

Joseph L. Sax, Natural History Magazine, Oct. 1976.

Creating the National Park Service (1999), an account of the origins of the National Park Service by assistant director, Horace M. Albright, includes many references to the high regard that the staff members had for Ty Sing
 as evident from these excerpts from Chapter 7, The Mather Mountain Party 1915,  .

"He had been handpicked by Marshall, who knew him from Geological Survey expeditions as the finest gourmet "chef" available. Ty Sing had worked for the survey for twenty-eight years, and for this trip he had brought Eugene, another USGS veteran, as his assistant."

"Roughing it" was not a term to be used for our dining. As it was every night on our trip, the table was set with a snowy white linen tablecloth and napkins, silverware, and china. Ty Sing and Eugene somehow managed to wash and iron the linen each day in addition to packing, traveling, unpacking, baking, and cooking meals.

At the farewell dinner, Albright noted: 
Ty Sing had personally written his notes in Chinese and English. They showed that this man could be counted not only as the "gourmet chef of the Sierra" but as the "philosopher of the Sierra."
  Sing is reported to have died in an accident in 1918, but it was not specified exactly where or how.  

           

5 comments:

  1. Thanks for this post... been doing my own research on Tie Sing. A group of us are trying to get him and other Chinese recognized during the National Park Service's 150th anniversary celebration of the Yosemite Grant Act.

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    Replies
    1. fyi, the Chinese Historical Society of Southern California is working with a group planning a commemorative hike at Sing's Peak in Aug. of 2013, and 2014. See page 5 of this newsletter: http://chssc.org/NewsNotes/NNN1303.pdf

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  2. Great,,,that would be terrific...best wishes for success of your mission!

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  3. Thanks this nice history!He hadn't an easy life,but his life was reach with adventures.We can't finde a survey cooker who travel with an geological expedition.He was so courage person and his kitchen unforgeted.Today the chiken pie,Apple pie,roasted potatoes with gravy an excelente food!Good apetite!

    ReplyDelete
  4. Thanks this nice history!He hadn't an easy life,but his life was reach with adventures.We can't finde a survey cooker who travel with an geological expedition.He was so courage person and his kitchen unforgeted.Today the chiken pie,Apple pie,roasted potatoes with gravy an excelente food!Good apetite!

    ReplyDelete

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