APRIL 2024

INTERVIEW WITH Khanh ong

How long have you been working in the food industry? 

I’ve been lucky enough to be a part of the food industry since leaving MasterChef in 2018, so 6 years now. 

What enticed you to enter this industry? 

I love food, I love cooking and for it to be my job is a dream.

How has your upbringing contributed to your role as a cook/chef? 

Food is my happy place, I learnt to cook in the kitchen with my mother and I think those memories with her are what made me fall in love with food.

What are some of your favourite/core memories in the kitchen, growing up? 

Sitting on the kitchen counter after school, picking herbs, rolling spring rolls, or just helping mum. My parents are refugees - they worked a lot so most of our quality time was spent in the kitchen.

How has your culture/ethnicity contributed to your role as a cook/chef?

Vietnamese culture is about generosity, that’s how I cook. I’m a feeder, I want to make people happy and full. You’ll see a lot of references to my culture in the foods that I choose to make too. 

Who has been your biggest inspiration in your life as a cook/chef? 

My mother. She’s taught me so much and she's an incredible cook.

What are your key ingredient staples? 

Herbs, always herbs. They do so much to a dish - Vietnamese mint, Thai basil, lemongrass, and sawtooth coriander are my favourites. 

What trends in cooking/food are you big on now? 

Accessibility. Food should be for everyone, gone are the days where I would make things that were too hard for the home cook. Food should be fun; it shouldn't be stressful.

What is your favourite dish of all time? 

My mother’s ‘Bun Bo Hue’ or ‘Banh Xeo’

What specific skills have given you an edge in this role? 

Over the last few years, I’ve really found my point of view as a chef, I know my style and what I want to cook, and I know I’m good at it. It’s the confidence in my cuisine that comes with a lot of past mistakes and lessons.

What are some of the key skills you’ve gained in your time as cook/chef?

Clear communication hahaha!

What, in your opinion is the key to ensuring customer satisfaction when it comes to dining experiences? 

Great service, flavour, and generosity 

What keeps things interesting for customers when they try your food?

Flavours that are unfamiliar, flavours I grew up with that aren’t what you think of Vietnamese cooking.

Who would you say your customers are? 

Everyone who wants good, honest food. 

What do they expect when they try your food? 

Bold flavours.

What do you enjoy doing in your time away from cooking? 

Cooking. I honestly love it.

ALUMNI RESTAURANT

Discover ALUMNI restaurant where Khanh will have his residency at Crown Melbourne along side some of your MasterChef favourites.

Or join the waitlist to receive an update when Khanh's reservations open. 

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