By Stett Holbrook
TUYEN CHUNG came to the United States from Vietnam as a teenager, by way of mainland China and Hong Kong. He started cooking in his mother's restaurant more than 25 years ago, honing his technique until he was ready to open his own restaurant, Fu Kee, a small self-service Asian Pacific Rim spot, in 1997, soon after getting married. He then opened the first Ginger Cafe in Gilroy (8657 San Ysidro Ave.) in 2004, seeking to push his food and creativity to another level. He followed on the success of the first Ginger Cafe, which still thrives today, with a second outpost in Sunnyvale in February of 2007.
Chung's unique approach involves ingredients and flavors from Southeast Asia. This delicious and complex style stems from history, where migration brought Chinese food into new places, where it mingled with local ingredients and tastes that resulting in new twists on traditional dishes. While Ginger Cafe's menu is rooted in Chinese cuisine, it is broadened, flavored and inspired by Chung's travels through Vietnam, Thailand, Cambodia, Malaysia and Singapore. Today, the hybrid food found at Ginger Cafe is a reflection of the Chung and his team's creativity and attention to local palates; it is also the result of team work from front of the house staffs and his kitchen crews.
Chef Spotlight is a regularly occurring feature leading up to Silicon Valley Restaurant Week, Oct. 14–21. Each week, I will profile a chef involved in SVRW. For more information about the event, please go to www.siliconvalleyrestaurantweek.com.
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