Mai Pham, a refugee from Vietnam has made herself into an American success. After fleeing Vietnam right before the fall of Saigon, she made her way to America where she started a new life and found a way to help her fellow immigrants.
California Heartland’s Chris Burrous meets Mai as she looks back and talks about the hardships in Vietnam and leaving her grandmother behind. It’s been almost 30 years since she left Vietnam and she has a lot to be proud of.
Today Mai’s pride has driven her to dream big. She is a renowned chef who owns the Lemongrass restaurant in Sacramento. Mai has opened small noodle bars on college campuses and in airport terminals, written three cookbooks and teaches culinary classes at local universities. On top of all she has on her plate, she still finds time to cook at her restaurant; she says that the attention to detail in each dish is what matters most.
Mai has also found a way to support local Vietnamese farmers. Ken and Oanh Phan grow fresh herbs such as coriander, cilantro, lemongrass and fish mint on their small farm in Sacramento. Like Mai, the Phans too are refugees from Vietnam who’ve escaped for a better life in America. Mai buys all of their crops and has helped them expand their farm over the past years.