Mai Pham is the chef/owner of the nationally acclaimed Lemon Grass Restaurant and Star Ginger in Sacramento, California. A recognized expert on Asian cuisine, Chef Pham is known for her fresh Southeast Asian cuisine featuring the bright flavors of Vietnam, Thailand and beyond. She’s the host of TV Food Network “Vietnam: My Country, My Kitchen” and author of Pleasures of the Vietnamese Table, which received a James Beard Award nomination and named as among the best cookbook titles in 2001 by The New York Times and the Los Angeles Times, and The Best of Vietnamese and Thai Cooking, which was featured on NPR’s Fresh Air and Martha Stewart Living magazine. Her newest book, Flavors of Asia, a collaboration with The Culinary Institute of America and features the best recipes from seven countries in Asia.
In recent years, Chef Pham partnered with campus, corporate, healthcare and government dining entities to launch Star Ginger at more than a dozen locations nationwide. The popular concept offers guests a wide spectrum of on-trend Asian flavors, from hearty authentic Thai curries to the fresh, flavorful Vietnamese noodle soups and Asian grilled entrees. To support these concepts, Chef Pham created a line of Southeast Asian sauces and marinades for foodservice.
Born in Saigon and raised in Vietnam and Thailand, Mai and her family fled to the U.S. in 1975 after the end of the Vietnam War. After graduating from the University of Maryland with a degree in journalism, she worked as an on-air reporter for various ABC News affiliates and later as a speechwriter for a California governor before returning to her love of food and cooking.