AS SEEN ON TV
Celebrity Chef Bobby Chinn on Food, Family and Vietnam
HOW IS IT THAT A CHI
NESE-EGYPTIAN, born in New Zealand, educated in California, Cairo and the UK ends up becoming doyen of Vietnamese cuisine and Vietnam’s favorite adopted son? According to The
Mind of a Chef culinary legend Anthony Bourdain, the answer is simple: “What Bobby doesn’t know about Southeast Asian food is not worth knowing.”
From the opening of his very first restaurant in Ho Chi Minh City, Bobby made a specialty of creating modern dishes from traditional ideas. His ‘apple smoked pork belly, braised cabbage, egg’ is a contemporary take on a Vietnamese classic.
He soon became acknowledged as a world authority on Southeast Asian cuisine. Regular appearances on international television and a bestselling cookbook about the history and nuances of Vietnamese food have cemented his reputation and led to his cooking for the likes of Bill Clinton and Bob Dylan.
This is all the more incredible when you consider that Bobby only started cooking in his 30s. Before that he worked a number of jobs trying to find his calling. This included stints performing as a standup comic, selling seafood to “the mob,” and working as a trader on Wall Street, none of which satisfied him.
He tells me, “I followed the natural progression that we all follow. Go to school, go to college, get a degree in something that might have value, without ever questioning my personal happiness.”
“Making money wasn't exactly making me happy. When I left Wall Street, I was open to anything and everything. I