Vietnam Time

12/21/2017 4:44:29 PM

American restaurant owner in love with Vietnamese cuisine

(VNF) - The California well-known chef wants his diners to understand Vietnamese culture so that they could enjoy completely the food.

After more than two months of opening, Vietnamese restaurant named Temple Club by Geoffrey Deetz in Oakland, California, USA is always crowded, welcoming hundreds of customers every day.

As the boss cum chef of the restautant, Deetz takes quite a long time to arrange an interview with Vnexpress by phone at 3 am, US time.

"I'm so excited when so many people come to the Temple Club to ask why each Vietnamese dish is small portion, each with its own sauce," Deetz said of the curiosity of the customers.

With more than 16 years living in Vietnam, the Temple Club owner can easily answer that question. If one does not know the difference between lemonade, garlic, ginger or soy sauce, he will not feel the taste of the dish. Worse, if he uses a same sauce for all the dishes on the table, the food will be "unreasonable."

The story revolves around how to eat properly, the importance of spices, the origin of ingredients related to Vietnamese culture make the work of Mr. Deetz not simply selling food, which became his endless joy, a passion for culinary rigorously.

Deetz and his Vietnamese wife

Deetz's strict requirements towards Vietnamese cuisine derives from his own experience in the country since 2000. As a renowned chef in Oakland, Deetz did not immediately jump to learn cooking Vietnamese food, but learn the daily life of people. So that he could understand the Vietnamese culture, Vietnamse cuisine and the cooking become easier.

The “true’’ Vietnamese dish must be small portions but strong flavored. Compared with other countries, Vietnamese cuisine focuses on healthy ingredients. To make true taste of the dish, the chef must use right amount of ingredients.

"I want to tell more about family culture in Vietnamese cuisine with my diners." Each dish has its own story, the way it is cooked passed from generation to generation. Vietnamese people eat the same food to enjoy together," said Deetz.

Since returning to the United States in 2015, Mr. Deetz is surprised to see many people set luxury infrastructure first criteria. With Vietnamese food, that standard is not right. So Deetz decided to follow his own way. That's why the Temple Club was born, with the help of his wife, a Vietnamese, and some friends.

The Temple Club boss can now guess who his customers are. The first group is young Americans born in the United State who have never been to Vietnam and do not know the diversity of Vietnamese cuisine, so they come here to fill their curiosity. The second is foreigners who used to come to Vietnam. They come to the restaurant to find their have-eaten favorite flavor. And the last one is Vietnamese people. They come to Temple Club to fill up their nostalgia for the motherland.

Temple Club has a total of 11 employees, from different countries such as Japan, Mexico, Korea, but have in common is the understanding of Vietnamese food. While my husband is a chef, Deetz's wife plays an equally important role in tasting the right taste.

Thanks to the Vietnamese market in the area, the Temple Club boss has no difficulty in finding ingredients. "Not all but we can have a lot of things," he said.

Craving for a haircut in Vietnam

There are some reasons makes Deetz and his wife decide to leave for the United States. Sometimes, Deetz remembered vibrant life in Vietnam. Occasionally, he spoke many sentences in Vietnamese, with a gentle southern accent.

"I would like to have a haircut, relax like in Vietnam, go out on a motorcycle. In America people have to drive car." Deetz says he remembers chicken rice and bread the most in Vietnam.

In return, at the Temple Club, Deetz felt himself still living in that familiar space. He is concentrating on this restaurant with the expectation that it will be known to many in the region. He plans to open more restaurants in the next few years.

"Since I am not a Vietnamese, my psychology is very comfortable, I do not feel afraid whether I'm cooking the right recipes, I can make a lot of food and I like to share it with many people," said Deetz. 

Quang noodle by Mr. Deetz


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