Three Vietnamese cuisine ambassadors

Vietnamese cuisine enjoyed a bonanza in 2012 with many international and domestic TV shows featuring its appetizing recipes and starring some impressive chefs.

Accidentally or voluntarily, three chefs from the US, the UK, and Australia have become the ambassadors to introduce Vietnamese cuisine to the world.

Uyen Luu, Christine Ha, and Luke Nguyen are seen in this combined photo.Uyên Lưu, Christine Hà, and Luke Nguyễn are seen in this combined photo

1. Uyên Lưu

Uyên Lưu, a London-based photographer and food stylist, is set to publish a cookbook about Vietnamese cuisine in the third quarter of this year.

The book, set to be finished this month and internationally released in September, is expected to provide recipes for 65 Vietnamese dishes in some 100 pages.

Uyên visited Việt Nam in late 2012 to take necessary photos for the book and finalize the last stage for its completion.


A dish of crispy pork belly with vermicelli is seen in this photo published on Uyên Lưu’s blog January 30, 2013

We met Uyên when she was returning to Hackney, London, where she runs a culinary club for local people who love Vietnamese dishes.

The club was accidentally set up as Uyên at first only wanted to treat her friends with Vietnamese food at weekends.

“Gradually the guests said they were concerned for the expenses of the treats, and asked to pay for them,” said Uyên, who graduated fashion, arts, and photography from the Central Saint Martin’s College of Arts and Design.

Uyên loved that idea since she could introduce more Vietnamese dishes to those who love them, while also receiving decent income to cover expenses, she said.

Uyên said she never thinks that she is an ambassador of Vietnamese food, while admitting that:

“I would have been doing the job well if I really were such ambassador.”

Uyên still frequently writes and takes photos of the Vietnamese dishes, and has them published at her blog,

2. Christine Hà

Nearly five months after being crowned US MasterChef season 3, life has become much busier for Christine Hà, of Vietnamese origin, the first-ever visually impaired home cook to win the title.

Unanimously winning the vote of three judges with her Southeast Asian three-course meal in the show finale last September, Christine Hà now shows up at more TV shows, and sees more chances open wide before her eyes.


A dish of Vietnamese eggrolls with vermicelli, lettuce, cucumbers, roasted peanuts, and fish sauce vinaigrette is seen in this photo posted on Christine Ha’s facebook fan page January 2, 2013

The 34-year-old is currently busy writing her cookbook, part of the prizes for the US Master Chef, and replying emails from her worldwide fans, while having less time for cooking.

Hence, her dreams of publishing the debut novel, and opening a restaurant using local materials and an ice-cream store with brand new flavors, remain unaccomplished.

2013 will mark two milestones for Christine:

Releasing her cookbook in May, and graduating from her post-graduate program a month later.

She will then publish an autobiography, which is dedicated to her late mother, who left her when she was just 14 years old.

Even so, the mother had managed to leave a love for Vietnamese food in her daughter, she said.

Christine says she is confident that she is already a person who promotes Vietnamese cuisine to the world, thanks to what she has written in the recently released MasterChef USA cookbook.

And there will be more Vietnamese recipes to be presented in her own cookbook this May, she said.

3. Luke Nguyễn

Just like Uyên Lưu and Christine Hà, Vietnamese Australian chef Luke Nguyễn is leading a very busy life.

He appears frequently on many TV shows as a chef that cooks the Vietnamese dishes, and he judges culinary shows such as MasterChef.

He has recently released his fourth cuisine book, titled Luke Nguyễn’s Greater Mekong, and opened two new restaurants, the Red Lantern in Sydney and the Fat Noodle in Brisbane.

“Since I first showed up on TV and cooked a Vietnamese dish, more people have known more about the country’s culinary,” Luke said.

“People want to learn how to cook Vietnamese dishes, to know more about the materials and the country’s culture, and to visit Việt Nam.”


 The roasted duck in fermented bean curd cooked by Luke Nguyễn is seen in this photo on

Since Luke Nguyễn began hosting the television series Luke Nguyễn’s Việt Nam, a food documentary, in Australia, the number of Aussie tourists to Việt Nam rose by 100 percent, he proudly said.

The 35-year-old chef has produced four culinary TV shows, two of which are in Vietnam.

“I think I have become the ambassador for Vietnamese cuisine, as my programs are on air in 160 countries,” he asserted.


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