American chef aims to launch Vietnamese cooking shows

June 08, 2023 - 10:07
Inspired by an episode of “A Cook’s Tour”, Chad Kubanoff decided to move to Việt Nam and worked as an executive chef in a fine-dining restaurant.

Falling in love with Vietnamese cuisine, Chad Kubanoff, an American professional chef, shares his culinary experience with the world

Trần Khánh An

Chad Kubanoff's destiny with Vietnamese cuisine began in 2008. Inspired by an episode of “A Cook’s Tour”, he decided to move to Việt Nam and worked as an executive chef in a fine-dining restaurant. He also explored HCM City's crowded streets and hidden roadways to try all the local cuisine, and ‘fell in love’ with Vietnamese food.

With a burning desire to explore more, in 2012, Chad traveled from HCM City to Hà Nội by motorbike to taste and discover the regional differences of the cuisine throughout the country. Traveling across the country on motorbike is challenging, but he admitted it was “one of the most remarkable experiences” of his life.

“On this trip, I had the opportunity to try many versions of bún bò (beef noodle soup) in the north, the south, and in Huế. For the same dish, distinct techniques are used in different regions. It is amazing to understand the uniqueness and diversity of Vietnamese gastronomy,” he said, adding that he considers bún bò as ‘the king's soup’.

Chad Kubanoff explores Vietnamese cuisine. Photo courtesy of Chad Kubanoff

In 2022, Chad, his Vietnamese wife, and three children returned to Việt Nam after ten years in the US. He continues his journey to discover more delicious dishes and broaden his understanding of Vietnamese cuisine. However, this time, he decided to share his journey online.

Viewers find it adorable whenever his three children appear on videos and are often the first to try his dishes. “It is lovely to capture the moment with my three children so we can watch it again when they grow up,” he told Việt Nam News, “I think that family ties are not often prioritised in Western culture, therefore, I hope my children can appreciate my heritage and the value of family bonds.”

Chad’s children join him in preparing Bánh Khọt (mini savory pancake). Photo courtesy of Chad Kubanoff.

On his TikTok account, he has nearly 700,000 followers with 25 million likes, and growth is still strong. Audiences show great interest in Chad's simple and natural way of filming and cooking. With his thoughtful knowledge of Vietnamese cuisine, he carefully presents the dishes' origins, concepts, and techniques.

"As a young cook in an American kitchen, I was always exploring every new technique and experimenting with different ingredients. After I moved to Việt Nam, I love sharing what I have learned so far with other young professional cooks about Vietnamese cuisine, therefore, they can learn and improve,” Chad said, sharing the reason why he started his cooking content.

However, as time goes on, most of his audience is more than just professional chefs as he thought.

“I love hearing that both foreigners and locals support me. They are more open-minded and feel inspired to travel and explore new cuisines after watching my videos,” Chad said. “Especially, the Việt Kiều (overseas Vietnamese) feel nostalgic and happy to see Việt Nam again through my videos. The second generation of overseas Vietnamese, who have never been to Việt Nam, tell me that my videos give them a sense of pride in their Vietnamese heritage and motivate them to engage with the culture and visit Việt Nam.”

Chad attracts viewers with his thoughtful knowledge of Vietnamese cuisine and natural way of filming. Photo courtesy of Chad Kubanoff

When asked about his plans for the future, he shared his goal of launching Vietnamese cooking shows on his social media with Việt Nam News: “The topic of my first culinary show is traditional Vietnamese cuisine. I not only present the dish but also demonstrate how to prepare it so that audiences can make it at home. I aim to promote the integration and international reach of Vietnamese cuisine. I also improve my Vietnamese speaking skills to communicate better.”

He is ambitious with a plan for another live-streaming cooking show: “Beyond that, I am also planning another live-streaming show: about four to five guesses are invited to my house, and I prepare a fine-dining meal for them. Although I do not prepare traditional Vietnamese dishes in this show, I want to utilise and innovate Vietnamese ingredients to integrate them with the world’s high-end recipes and delicacies.” VNS