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Oakland, CA


I am a Vietnamese-American, born and raised in San Jose, California. Growing up, my grandma was my partner-in-crime. I was just a preschooler sporting a fresh bowl cut hair-do when she immigrated to America from Vietnam. She walked me to school, listened to my boy problems and fed me comfort food when I was feeling down. She prepared dishes using distinctive flavor profiles reminiscent of her homeland Saigon; incorporating loads of fresh herbs with the umami of fish sauce and the warmth of spices. I later grew to appreciate the bold, aromatic flavors, especially when I moved away for pharmacy school.

Authentic Vietnamese food became harder to find as it required at least an hour's drive. Time became sparse as a full-time student: I studied every moment I could get, worked part time, and slept in the car during lunches to catch up from all-nighters. It was through these hardships that made me crave my grandma's comfort food more than ever--like a hot steaming bowl of pork belly braised in fresh coconut water topped with a soy sauce marinated egg or a refreshing citrus chicken cabbage salad that she'd make with chickens from our local farm and unique fragrant herbs.

I learned to recreate my grandma's comfort food in my own kitchen to bring me closer to home. As a pharmacist I am big on being health-conscious so I reinvented my grandma’s recipes, but that doesn't mean I don't indulge in moderation. My dishes are made from scratch using fresh, quality ingredients that are inspired by my grandma's comfort food with healthiness in mind. I hope these dishes provide the same warmth and comfort to you as it has had for me.