Shih's smiling face will not totally disappear from the business that serves dinner and a typical lunch crowd of 80 to 100 people, but most customers won't see her because she'll mostly work in the kitchen.
"I will help. I just won't work in the front."
Natives of Taiwan, Shih, her brother and sister found their ways to Kentucky from Los Angeles.
"There was an earthquake, so we moved here," she says. Her brother opened a restaurant in Middlesboro and her sister runs one in London.
The new owners of Shih's restaurant are from Louisville.
Helen Li says she thinks she will like the change to a small town.
"People are more friendly," she says, as she stays in constant motion cleaning up after a lunch crowd.
Shih says she found that the business suited her.
"I like to cook and I like people. Chinese food is very popular."
When cooking for the public, Shih tries to avoid making dishes too spicy.
"If you use too many ingredients, they mess up."
One of the reasons she thinks people like Chinese food is because using a wok keeps vegetables from overcooking. She also tries to use fresh vegetables and relies on sesame oil for sauting.
"We keep everything crispy. We cook quick. We don't cook a long time."
'All In Good Taste" event is Saturday
"All In Good Taste" will be held 6-8 p.m. Saturday at Centenary United Methodist Christian Life Center on Perryville Road. Tickets are $15, or $25 per couple. They are available at the Chamber at 304 S. Fourth St.
For more information, call the Chamber at (859) 236-2361.
Art from the Friday Gallery Hop will be displayed. Entertainment will be provided by Heritage Area String Program and The Hardwood Trio featuring John Pope on piano, Bob Hackett on bass and Eben Henson on drums.
Door prizes in the form of gift certificates for $100, $50 and $25 will be given.
The event is sponsored by CellularOne.
Mary Shih's Chicken Lo Mein recipe
8 ounces egg noodles
Chicken breasts chopped into bite-sized pieces
Cabbage and celery, chopped
Green onion tops
Cook noodles in salted water.
Cook chicken in sesame oil.
Sautee vegetables in sesame oil.
Salt and pepper to taste and add noodles.