Vietnamese cuisine has received a lot of attention over the past few years. Unsurprisingly, this has garnered the attention of some famous faces, a few of which have come along to try it for themselves. Here’s our list of the top five celebrity chefs that have been to Vietnam and made it a part of their career.
Perhaps better known these days for his fiery temper rather than his cuisine, Ramsay visited Vietnam in 2011 to shoot an episode of Gordon’s Great Escapes. Ramsay was enthralled by the abundance of fresh ingredients that go into Vietnamese cuisine, calling the local market a ‘chef’s dream,’ as well as being slightly perturbed by the broad use of certain ingredients.
Ramsay’s newfound infatuation with Vietnamese cuisine comes as high praise from a chef whose restaurants have been awarded a total of 16 Michelin stars. Following his visit, Ramsay continued to celebrate Vietnamese cuisine by tasking the final five contestants of his TV show MaterChef US to prepare of bowl of hu tieu in 2013.
It should come as no surprise to see Anthony Bourdain’s name on this list. A strong advocate of Vietnamese cuisine right up until his tragic death in 2018, Bourdain became something of a spokesperson for Vietnamese food in the west, even accompanying former US President Barak Obama to a meal out in Hanoi.
Bourdain’s career as a chef eventually stopped as he took to the television screens instead. Here, Bourdain introduced the world to what was an otherwise unfamiliar, exotic cuisine. Through shows like A Cook’s Tour, Anthony Bourdain: No Reservations, The Layover and Anthony Bourdain: Parts Unknown, the TV host shone a light on Vietnam’s rich culinary history. In an interview with Conde Nast Traveller, Bourdain stated, ‘the trip to Vietnam changed my life!’
International celebrity chef Bobby Chinn, born in New Zealand to Egyptian and Chinese parents, has, perhaps, the strongest link to Vietnam – literally putting his name to the country in 2001 with his restaurant: Restaurant Bobby Chinn. After an unpleasant back injury in 1996, Chinn decided to move to Vietnam to learn the art of Vietnamese cuisine under street food vendors.
Chinn eventually took his love for Vietnamese food back to the west, opening up his Vietnamese restaurant House of Ho in London. These days, Chinn’s celebrity status is on the rise as a judge on MBC’s Top Chef Middle East, broadcasted across the Middle East and North Africa.
Ha’s position as judge on MasterChef Vietnam has made her a popular household name in Vietnam, but her fame goes beyond borders. Her celebrity career actually started as a contestant on season three of MasterChef in the US. Ha was the first-ever blind contestant on the show, winning the coveted title and a $250,000 cash prize. Ha’s cuisine throughout the show reflected many of Vietnam’s traditional dishes.
Born in Singapore to a British diplomatic father, John was destined for a globe-trotting career, spending much of his youth traveling with his family. John claims that these formative years have gone on to inspire his culinary style to this day. In 1983 John cut his culinary teeth under renowned chef Raymond Blanc at Le Manoir aux Quat’Saisons, where he was soon promoted to sous chef. John impressed Raymond so much as sous chef that, when Raymond opened Le Petit Blanc in Oxford, he put John in charge of the restaurant and the kitchen, this is where John was awarded his first Michelin star.
John visited Vietnam in January 2019, stepping aboard President Cruises, Halong Bay’s most glamorous floating hotel, to share his world-class culinary knowledge. Besides the Michelin standard cuisine that he’ll bring with him, we expect that Vietnamese cuisine will leave an inevitable imprint on John.