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 third title, Flavors of Asia, is a collaboration with The Culinary Institute of America and features the best recipes from seven countries in Asia.
In more recent years, Chef Pham created Star Ginger, an Asian food concept for education, healthcare and corporate dining venues. Her inaugural location at UMASS-Amherst, opened in 2003, remains among the most popular and top performing retail units in the country.
Born in Saigon and raised in Vietnam and Thailand, Mai and her family fled to the U.S. after the end of the Vietnam War. After graduating from the University of Maryland with a degree in journalism, she worked as a television reporter for various ABC News affiliates and later as a speechwriter for a California governor before returning to her love of food and cooking.