REPRESENTING VIETNAM’S CULINARY SCENE IN A GLOBAL MEDIASCAPE
CHRIS THOMPSON, EDITOR-AT-LARGE AT HARPER’S BAZAAR VIETNAM AND EPICURE VIETNAM
Originally from Liverpool, Chris began his career with a series of Sales & Marketing roles at corporate giants Danone and Nestle before joining the drinks industry with Pernod Ricard in London promoting iconic brands like The Glenlivet, Chivas, Jameson and Perrier Jouet. He arrived in Vietnam in 2013 as Regional Director for Rothschild Estates for Indo China before progressing into his current role in the media with Harper’s Bazaar & Epicure Vietnam as well as Marketing Consultant for Thien Linh Wine & Spirits.
WHO/WHAT WAS YOUR INSPIRATION FOR GETTING INTO THIS INDUSTRY AND WHY?
Whatever business you’re in you’ll always need to deal with people. I’ve always enjoyed this aspect of business and tried to understand that empathy for colleagues and clients is crucial to business success. The hospitality industry in a cosmopolitan and emerging city like Saigon is a melting pot of different cultures consisting of characters working in many differing functions from purchasing to cooking to front-of-house making it such a diverse and fascinating place to work.
CAN YOU NAME 3 UP-AND-COMING INDUSTRY FIGURES TO LOOK OUT FOR IN VIETNAM?
• Korean Chef Joonhyuk Chi is making waves up in Hanoi having opened Labri Bistro showcasing really precise cooking in a trendy, intimate and stripped back dining room with a slant towards new technologies
• A new sheriff has slipped into town under the cover of quarantine but expect to see the new General Manager of Quince & Madam Kew taking names down on 37 Ky Con as he starts by revitalising speakeasy Madam Kew
• Jan Visser and the team at Sampan Rhum, which is distilled in Hoi An. They seem to have all their fundamentals in place around provenance, production and distribution strategy and I’m tipping them to have a big 2022.
WHAT’S SOME ADVICE YOU WOULD GIVE TO THOSE LOOKING TO ENTER THE INDUSTRY?
Anything that looks, feels, tastes or smells too good to be true usually is. Anything that’s worth having or being involved with in our industry requires hard work and commitment. I’ve not met any successful people in our industry who haven’t worked really hard and shown great commitment to their craft.
Look behind the lens of social media and consider the preparation that goes into these perfects postings that you may see on Instagram.
It’s really important to be able to prioritise and understand when to say no and to what so that you can achieve that balance to spend time with loved ones and recharge those batteries.
LAST BUT NOT LEAST, WHAT’S YOUR HOPE AND VISION FOR VIETNAM’S F&B INDUSTRY?
I hope to see the further development of a thriving value chain in our industry. Of course restaurants remain at the epicentre of this but we also need to ensure that suppliers have enough fuel to sustain and develop their operations i.e. deliver the product and service so that restaurants can continue to delight customers and us media can have content to write about. This fuel will be dispensed from the bounce back that we are going to experience in the Vietnamese economy as the country opens up to international visitors again in 2022.