PIONEERING SAIGON’S MOST ICONIC FOOD AND DRINK CONCEPTS
ANDY O’BRIEN, FOUNDING PARTNER A.K.A. WITCH DOCTOR OF TRIBE HOSPITALITY CONCEPTS
A true blue Aussie at heart, Andy has been in the F&B industry for more than 20 years. He first cut his teeth in ‘Le Restaurant’, a European restaurant in Melbourne with 3-hats, the highest culinary recognition for a restaurant in Australia. After, Andy worked short stints with multiple award-winning restaurants across Australia including Head Chef at Fenix, a 2-hat restaurant before moving to Europe for six years in pursuit of culinary discovery and inspiration from different types of cuisine, flavour and ingredients. After a private gourmet rendezvous with a client of Madonna, Andy found himself a part of the pop icon’s entourage and spent six months on the road mingling with the likes of Jon Bon Jovi, The Who, Elton John and Cirque du Soleil.
After a long-awaited opportunity to work for The Jackson Five fell through due to the passing of Michael Jackson, Andy found himself en route to Vietnam as part of the Intercontinental Saigon’s pre-opening team in 2009. Since, Andy has opened some of the city’s most beloved concepts including Chill, Saigon’s first sky bar/restaurant and L’usine. In 2014, Andy, together with three other mates, fulfilled his lifelong ambition of creating a leading hospitality group that develops unique, inspirational and imaginative concepts. Today, that group is Tribe Hospitality Concepts and home to some of Saigon’s most standout concepts including The Racha Room (flagship), Stoker Woodfired Grill & Bar, Firkin Bar, Dram Bar, Relish & Sons, Tribe Providore Collective (TPC) delivery and catering service and Phats Dumpling House.
CAN YOU NAME 3 UP-AND-COMING INDUSTRY FIGURES TO LOOK OUT FOR IN VIETNAM?
• Jerry Lưu, ex manager at Stoker and current owner of his own bar Climb
• Minh Tam Nguyen, ex senior bartender at Firkin and now co-founder of 419 bar
• Thanh Luan, ex bar manager at The Racha Room now cofounder of Tamarind Hidden Bar, The Gin House & Cozy Eatery & Bar
WHAT’S SOME ADVICE YOU WOULD GIVE TO THOSE LOOKING TO ENTER THE INDUSTRY?
Although the industry has changed a lot particularly over the last 5 to 6 years. I believe that at least one thing remains the same – passion and to surround yourself with those who have a like-minded vision to help motivate your drive to succeed.
LAST BUT NOT LEAST, WHAT’S YOUR HOPE AND VISION FOR VIETNAM’S F&B INDUSTRY?
Vietnam’s F&B industry is progressing at a faster rate than it ever has since I have been here. The great thing about this industry is everybody always requires food and beverage and it’s one of the nicest ways of bringing people together. I hope and believe that Vietnam’s F&B scene will continue to be recognized globally and that the recent entries into the World’s 50 Best and 100 list are just the beginning and the tip of the iceberg.