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 was named 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, is a collaboration with The Culinary Institute of America. Chef Pham was previously a food columnist for the San Francisco Chronicle where she wrote “Love, Life and Pho” which won the Bert Greene Award for Food Journalism.
In recent years, Chef Pham has 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. Most recently, Chef Pham launched a retail line of Southeast Asian frozen prepared meals available at major supermarkets.
Born in Saigon and raised in Vietnam and Thailand, Chef Pham graduated from the University of Maryland with a degree in journalism. She worked as a television journalist for various ABC News affiliates and later as a speechwriter for a California governor before returning to her love of food and cooking.