Vietnamese delights cast spell on American chef

Travel Guide

Vietnamese Delights Cast Spell on American Chef

In 2008, an eager American chef named Chad Kubanoff found himself amidst the bustling streets of Vietnam. It wasn’t just the vivid sceneries that captivated him, but the tantalizing aroma wafting from every corner. “I felt like Alice stepping into Wonderland,” Chad recalls.

Discovering the Delicacies

Street food, with its blend of spices and rich aromas, seemed to beckon Chad at every turn. A simple bowl of pho or a plate of banh xeo was enough to allure him into extending his trip. As he dove deeper, his journey transitioned from just tasting to cooking, with his maiden dish being a crispy banh xeo, reminiscent of the flavors he fell in love with.

Embracing the Vietnamese Kitchen

Not one to just stand on the sidelines, Chad sought to immerse himself in the heart of Vietnamese cuisine. Taking a leap of faith, he became a chef at a local Vietnamese eatery. Under the guidance of his girlfriend (and future wife), Thuy Kubanoff, Chad began replicating dishes. Some turned out exquisite, while others required numerous trials, like the intricate banh cuon and the ever-so-complex bun bo.

Culinary Adventures Across Vietnam

Armed with a zest to explore more, Chad set out with Thuy to discover Vietnam’s gastronomic treasures. From his impromptu discovery of Quang-style noodles on a rainy evening to documenting the diverse street food, Chad’s culinary chronicles painted a rich tapestry of flavors and experiences.

Bringing Vietnam to the U.S.

Chad’s love story with Vietnam’s flavors didn’t end when he returned to the U.S. With Thuy by his side, they introduced Vietnamese street food to the American palate. Sourcing authentic ingredients became Chad’s passion project, ensuring every dish echoed the true essence of Vietnam.

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The Unyielding Pull of Vietnam

As the pandemic’s shackles began to loosen, Chad’s heart yearned for the lanes of Vietnam. Returning in 2022, Chad embraced a new avatar – a culinary content creator. Sharing his passion with an audience of over 25 million, he introduced dishes that melded tradition with innovation.

A New Take on Traditional Cuisine

Chad’s culinary journey became a saga of creativity. Whether it was giving the classic banh mi a twist or infusing Italian dishes with Vietnamese elements, he continuously pushed boundaries. “Vietnam hasn’t just influenced my recipes; it has reshaped my culinary philosophy,” Chad mused.

Chad’s Growing Influence and Future Plans

Chad’s fusion recipes struck a chord, especially among the Vietnamese diaspora. Many young Vietnamese-Americans saw their heritage celebrated in his dishes. With a commitment to deepening his bond, Chad now endeavors to learn the Vietnamese language, aspiring to converse and create content in the heart language of the cuisine he adores.


Chad Kubanoff’s story is more than just a culinary journey. It’s a testament to the transformative power of passion, exploration, and an open heart. As he continues to experiment, innovate, and share, one thing remains constant: his profound love for Vietnamese cuisine.


  1. When did Chad first visit Vietnam?
    • In 2008.
  2. What was Chad’s first Vietnamese dish?
    • Banh xeo filled with pork, shrimp, and bean sprouts.
  3. How did Chad learn Vietnamese cooking techniques?
    • He sought guidance from his girlfriend, watched YouTube videos, and worked in a Vietnamese restaurant.
  4. When did Chad return to Vietnam post-pandemic?
    • In 2022.
  5. What is unique about Chad’s culinary style now?
    • He merges Vietnamese ingredients and techniques with dishes from other cuisines, creating a unique fusion.
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