Celebrity chef's Thai and Vietnamese recipes featured in WWU dining halls

Matthew Anderson
University Communications

Western Washington University's University Dining Services has announced an exclusive relationship with Mai Pham, the world-renowned Thai and Vietnamese chef, restaurateur and cookbook author. The partnership is designed to showcase Pham's culinary mastery of an emerging cuisine and engage customers' senses, according to a recent press release from Dining Services.

Throughout spring quarter, Dining Services will feature seven of Pham's recipes at all three resident dining locations (Viking Union, Ridgeway Commons and Fairhaven Commons).

Special entrées planned for the quarter include Chicken Pho Noodle Soup, Biryani Chicken, Pork Chops with Chili Lime Sauce, Salmon with Basil Sauce, Vietnamese Chicken with Lemongrass and Pad Thai with Shrimp. For information on when these dishes are being served, check the Resident Dining Menu page on the Dining Services Web site. The menu is posted one week at a time.

To ensure authenticity and adherence to Mai Pham's recipes, Dining Services conducted a special on-campus culinary training on March 20. Roughly 20 individuals, including executive chef managers and lead and frontline cooks, attended the training.

Mai Pham is the chef/owner of nationally acclaimed Lemon Grass Restaurant in Sacramento and Lemon Grass Asian Grill and Noodle Bar. She also recently launched Star Ginger, a fast casual concept that features Southeast Asian street and comfort foods. Pham authored the cookbook "Pleasures of the Vietnamese Table," which received a prestigious James Beard Award nomination and was featured on National Public Radio's "Fresh Air" and in "Martha Stewart Living."

Pham was born in Saigon, Vietnam, and was raised in Vietnam and Thailand. In 1975, she came to the United States with her family, later completing a degree in journalism at the University of Maryland. After a seven-year career as an on-air correspondent for a number of ABC News affiliates and later as a speechwriter for the then-governor of California, she returned to her love of food and launched Lemon Grass Restaurant in Sacramento. She has traveled extensively in Asia, studying the best of home cooking, restaurant and street food traditions and learning from village cooks, noodle makers, spice merchants, acclaimed wok chefs and many other culinary experts.

Tuesday, April 6, 2010 - 12:55pm