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Wednesday, August 31, 2005

Food & Wine Magazine: Charles Phan Article and Recipes


The September issue of Food & Wine Magazine contains a nice feature on Charles Phan, chef and owner of The Slanted Door.   The premise of the article, entitled "Vietnam A La Cart," is to have Phan put together Vietnamese dishes using only ingredients available at your typical Safeway grocery store.   Not only is this intended to demonstrate the extent to which Asian ingredients have found their way into American culture at large, but it also provides useful recipes for those living in places without ready access to Asian grocery stores.

The article contains some interesting information about Phan and his remarkable story.   On April 30, 1975, the day that Saigon fell, Phan and his family left Vietnam by ship - leaving all of their possessions behind.   Only 12 at the time, Phan spent the next three months in transit and at sea, and the following 18 months in Guam.   The family eventually migrated to the Tenderloin district of San Francisco in 1977, and Phan finished his high school years at Mission High.   After studying architecture at the University of California, Berkeley and working in the field in New York, Phan returned to California and started toying with the idea of opening a "Vietnamese restaurant with ambience."   He found an empty storefront on Valencia Street in 1994, and the rest, as they say, is history.

The article includes recipes for the numerous dishes that Phan was able to put together, a list of which is set forth below in order to help you decide whether you want to purchase the magazine.   (Links to the recipes on the magazine's website are also included here, but these will work only for current subscribers to Food & Wine.)

I have always believed that Phan is an excellent chef, so I suspect that the above recipes are quite likely to yield good results.   And it's always nice to see a local chef get positive press at the national level, particularly when it's somebody like Phan who has overcome the odds to achieve such incredible success.   So, check out the magazine if you get a chance, and please do let me know if you try your hand at any of the recipes!

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