Born in Vietnam in 1980, Chef Khai Vu came to the States at the young age of 11. His first love and passion has always been food. With his Grandmother’s cooking as his young inspiration and his father growing him to be a successful business man, his family’s shared love of food has paved the way for him to produce some of the most modern and high quality cuisine at his own kitchen District One Kitchen & Bar in Las Vegas today.
When Chef Vu is not enjoying a day of fishing or boating, chances are you can find him dining. Tasting foods from East to West around the world has given him the ability to grow his exquisite flavor palate, which he shares his craft and love of food with everyone at District One.
Chef Vu’s Signature Whole Maine Lobster Pho [photo | Rudy Chaney]
Pho So 1, District One and Viet Noodle Le Pho are just a few of his ventures in his 18-year career as a chef and employ about 90 people. Excellence in food and customer service are the hallmarks of his business. Chef Vu’s view on life and food is to pursue what you love with a passion, and your hard work will definitely be worth it.
Las Vegas, NV
Las Vegas, NV
What does it mean to you to “Go Against The Grain?”
“Allows us to come out of tradition and also see the value of our roots. Without our roots from Family to Culture, we would not have a beginning which is the grain that we grow from.”
What made you decide to pursue a career in this industry?
“I was very fortunate from a young age to have a big family around me, to shape me and mold me into the chef I am today. My parents taught me since their first restaurant about business management and culinary art. I have been extremely fortunate to travel and see the world of cuisine in its environment leading to an adventurous palate. My Grandma had the greatest impact on me with her home cooking, farmers market visits and her ability to put love into her food.”
What have been some of the challenges you faced/lessons you learned as an Asian American in this field?
“You have to be willing to have an open mind and learn new things. Helping others; know one, teach one. Life is full of lessons, some hard, some easy. Challenges shape you and give you character. Living in the United States as an American, you understand freedom and with that comes opportunity. I am proud to have faced what challenges I’ve had because it’s given me an eye for what I do have versus what I do not.”
What do you feel is your biggest accomplishment, and why?
“Opening my first restaurant and overcoming the saying that friends and family don’t mix with business. I’ve proven that wrong because to me, keeping the balance with family and business is most important, and it’s also one of the greatest things I have accomplished.”
What’s up next?
“Another restaurant under way with a Vietnamese wrap and roll concept, which will be called “Le Pho Vietnamese Kitchen ” that provides a fast casual dining experience with the freshest ingredients we can find. Later in my future, I hope to expand across the U.S.”
Quote to live by:
“Know One, Teach One; See the Good in Others.”
Sign (Eastern Animal Sign & Western Zodiac):
“Culinary Art & Music”
Can’t live without:
I Go Against The Grain #beCAUSE:
“I was able to find the passion in what I do. If you do the right thing, everything will fall into place. You have to like what you do, which will allow you to do your best at it. Believe in what you do and love it. You don’t want to go backwards; when you’re unhappy, things lack progress, so love what you do and be happy.”