OC WEEKLY | OCTOBER 27, 2015 | BY CHARLES LAM | link to article
Nearly universally, the first businesses immigrants open are food-related, and that was no different for OC’s Viet-Am community. Before Paris by Night or Asia Entertainment set up shop down in Little Saigon, grocery stores and restaurants opened first, and now you can learn about the evolution, history and future of the enclave’s food culture thanks to a lecture (and tasting event) hosted as part of UCI’s Vietnamese American Oral History Project’s (VAOHP) Vietnamese Focus exhibit, currently going on at the Old Orange County Courthouse in Santa Ana.
The special talk series, scheduled for three different sessions on November 7, will feature chefs, restauranteurs, and entertainers talking about how they found themselves to food (featured are Xanh Bistro’s Haley Nguyen, Lynda’s Sandwiches’ Lynda Trang Dai, and Au Lac’s Mai Nguyen to start).
Each talk will be moderated by a Vietnamese Focus director or co-curator and take about an hour and a half, featuring a half hour tasting period afterwards. Below’s the schedule. Attendance is free. For more information, check out their Event Brite event right here.
10:00 am – 11:30 am: Panel 1: Innovative Flavors, Redefining Cooking + Q&A Genevieve Erin O’Brien > chef, performance artist, college lecturer
Haley Nguyen > chef, former owner of Xanh Bistro, culinary instructor
Thai Pham & Cyndee Nguyen > owners of Backhaus Sweets
Moderated by James Dinh, Vietnamese Focus Art & Exhibition Director
11:30 am – 12:00 pm: Food Tasting for Panel 1
12:00 pm – 1:30 pm: Panel 2: Crafting Cuisine, Creating Community + Q&A
Lynda Trang Dai > owner of Lynda’s Sandwiches, professional singer/entertainer
Gia N. Ly > partner of Zen Restaurant and Crepe Corner, restaurant consultant for Nguyen’s Kitchen, president of Vietnamese American Chamber of Commerce
Moderated by Tram Le, Vietnamese Focus Co-Curator
1:30 pm – 2:00 pm: Food Tasting for Panel 2
2:00 pm – 3:30 pm: Panel 3: Healthy Food, Flourishing Businesses + Q&A
Mai Nguyen > owner of Au Lac Restaurant
Quan Tran > owner of Pho Saigon Pearl Restaurant, chiropractor
Moderated by Dr. Linda Trinh Vo, Vietnamese Focus Co-Curator
3:30 pm – 4:00 pm: Food Tasting for Panel 3
The event takes place Nov. 7 from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m at the Old Orange County Courthouse at 211 West Santa Ana Boulevard, Santa Ana, CA 92701. Attendance is free, though RSVPs are requested. For more information, click here.