Tell us about Le Fat’s blend of influences with this concept of a vietnamese brasserie.
I wanted to convey the French-colonial influence in Vietnam that is still evident today. We offer traditional dishes as well as items you don’t typically see in Vietnamese restaurants. I’m re-creating dishes that I ate at home growing up, but I also try to infuse a bit of creative flair. I want guests to feel as if they’ve walked into an 1850s Vietnamese brasserie, but at the same time the space should feel modern and comfortable. [Designer] Smith Hanes did a phenomenal job with that.
Tell us about those unique dishes you’re re-creating, and, what you would recommend?
We have things like escargot with Sriracha garlic butter and pâté chaud with pho bone marrow gravy. For someone unfamiliar with Vietnamese food, a great starter would be our Shaking Beef, which is a popular traditional dish.
What keeps you inspired?
I like to travel, read and try other chef-driven restaurants. My cultural heritage is definitely the major driving force, and my training is secondary to that. Miso Izakaya was influenced by my training in Japan, and Le Fat draws from my mom’s Vietnamese-Chinese heritage.
What’s the latest with your Ponce City Market restaurant, Ton Ton, and Big Boss Chinese in Decatur? Ton Ton is primarily a ramen shop that also serves yakitori, or grilled, skewered food. Big Boss Chinese pulls from my dad’s side, which is Cantonese, and I’ll showcase traditional Cantonese dishes I had growing up.
What have you learned about the restaurant business since opening Miso Izakaya in 2009?
I’ve learned that I have to continue to work harder to sustain the trust people have given me and my food. I’m extremely grateful for the support I have received from guests who continue to have confidence in my food—I wouldn’t be here without them.