A bittersweet family saga in which treasured recipes form the threads that bind members together for life
It is a moving memoir and a dazzling collection of sumptuous Vietnamese recipes, complete with beautiful food, location and personal photography. Pauline Nguyen, along with Luke Nguyen and Mark Jensen, are the proprietors of the respected Sydney restaurant, Red Lantern. They hold in their hearts and their heads the Nguyen family’s amazing stories and food secrets.
Luke Nguyen is a renowned Vietnamese Australian chef, best known for his television series Luke Nguyen's Vietnam, which this book ties into, and more recently his new series Luke Nguyen's Greater Mekong.
Born in a Thai refugee camp after his parents escaped their homeland in Vietnam, Luke's family eventually made their way to Australia where Luke was raised in Sydney's vibrant and storied Vietnamese quarter. His parents opened and ran a local Vietnamese restaurant called Pho Cay Du and it was this familial passion for food that first ignited Luke's interest in Vietnamese cooking. After learning the basics from his parents, Luke trained with a number of respected Sydney chefs before opening The Red Lantern restaurant with his sister, Pauline. Since then, The Red Lantern has become one of Sydney's most acclaimed restaurants, winning Best Vietnamese Restaurant in 2009.
Luke has written four previous cookbooks: Secrets of the Red Lantern, Songs of Sapa, Indochine and Greater Mekong. Luke currently divides his time between his home in Sydney and Vietnam, where he is the host of Masterchef Vietnam.
Pauline Nguyen, author of Secrets of the Red Lantern, is co-owner of Red Lantern, the acclaimed modern Vietnamese restaurants in Sydney’s inner-city areas of Surry Hills and Darlinghurst.
In her moving memoir, Pauline tells the honest, difficult story of the Nguyen family, following the journey of her parents from their homeland in Vietnam on their escape to Thailand as refugees, and then on to their eventual resettlement in Australia. They moved to Sydney’s most vibrant and notorious Vietnamese enclave where Pauline and her brothers grew up. A shared passion for food is at the heart of this family’s journey.
Pauline’s writing has appeared in The Best Australian Essays 2010, Voracious - The Best New Australian Food Writing, Griffith Review, as well as various other publications. She holds a BA in Communications at UTS and in 2008 won Newcomer of the Year at the Australian Book Industry Awards.
Mark Jensen looking for a career change at the age of 27 and he didn't start working in a professional kitchen until then. He knew that it would be imperative if he was going to be a successful Chef that he completed the right training.
After some time in Byron Bay to consider his options, he made the move back to Sydney and quickly obtained a position at the Paddington Inn Bistro in Mathew Moran’s kitchen. After three years with Matt, Mark moved to the Bennelong Restaurant - Sydney Opera House. Under the exceptional Janni Krystis, he refined the techniques he had already learned. It was now time for Mark to make his own mark in the Sydney dining scene and he opened the Olympic Hotel Dining Room in 1995.
After many years a heap of favourable reviews in the Good Food Guide, Mark was approached by his brother in-law Luke Nguyen to head up the team in the kitchen at his new restaurant, Red Lantern on Crown. Red Lantern to this day is a hit with Sydney’s dining public. A cool but casual dining room, fresh ingredients crafted in a traditional manner with informative service. The Red Lantern family opened their second restaurant Red Lantern on Riley in 2011.