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I’m Tuan and this is my journey.

How I got into food and cooking:

At a tender young age, in a refugee camp, in Hong Kong, 1988. I started to cook out of no choice but for family to survive, parents were out for work doing long hours and so no one was left at the camp to cook, so I took up the responsibility to feed my siblings and cousins.

It was a long gruelling five years in a refugee camp and then my parents got the opportunity to move to UK Manchester, in 1993 we landed in Manchester and it was a very difficult integration as a young boy to come to a different country.  Where you don’t speak the language, know the culture, how things work, how the systems work. Going to school had its own issues for a refugee, you try to fit in or become an outside (even though you are an outsider) but you get what you put in and I learnt the language again out of necessity and no choice.


After two years moved to London, to continue high school. Then to college, I dropped out because of the language barrier however it didn’t stop me learning and moving forward, I started my first job in a restaurant, which was very fitting because it was food related, cooking in the refugee camp I had to be savvy with ingredients to get the best out of them for a marvellous dish, I was aged 16 at this point.


Doing long hard hours, I said to myself ‘I don’t know how, I don’t know when but one day I will have my own restaurant’ this goal has stayed with me even if I did venture into other avenues and businesses. One such example was working in a Nails bar. Although it wasn’t food it was a means to an end.


Having stayed in London for 20 years, I returned to Manchester in 2015, and with all the years of experience of working and running businesses I opened up a Nail Bar of my own. I became the owner of a legendary nightclub in Manchesters’ China Town where I learnt valuable skills and how to run a bigger business. I’ve learnt to speak English, Vietnamese and Cantonese fluently, my once weaknesses have become strengths.

Culinary arts were still always on my mind.

This Journey has begun with food and cooking, and to this present day it has come full circle, I feel appreciated that United Kingdom has taken me and my family in as a refugee and allowed me to grow into a flourishing businessman. I am proud of being a ‘boat people’ the term is synonymous with Vietnam’s tragic history, but its people like myself who have survived these harsh realities that are now bringing honour to my country and people.

I believe now is the time to give back to this country to show my appreciation. I want to employ people so I can help them also realise their dreams, that the work place is welcoming and I want to be an inspiration to anyone who has the drive.

With support from my 20+ years veteran Chef, my father.


I have now opened my very first restaurant to pursue my culinary dream: Vietbowl.

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