I believe in food.

Delicious, humble, wholesome food.

When I became vegetarian at 19, I still yearned for the good stuff. Not so much the actual food, but more what that food meant – a certain flavor, a texture and that kick I’d grown accustomed to after growing up in Texas eating meals prepared by my mother, a traditional Vietnamese cook, and my father, an experimental kind of guy with a taste for fusions.

Driven by that yearning to recreate meatless versions of my childhood favorites and the passion to pursue culinary, I left my office job in California for the kitchens of New York City.

I did whatever I could to get to my foot in the door. Bussing tables, serving, and baristing, you name it. At a vegan diner called Champs Bakery, I worked my way from a prep cook to the kitchen manager and head chef in less than a year. Since then I have ventured out to start my own private chef and catering business, and am the former Executive Chef of Black Flamingo Restaurant, in Brooklyn.

I have since relocated back to Long Beach, California where I am currently working on my new exciting solo food project - The Wild Chive. Stay tuned for some inventive, delicious vegan food coming your way! 

Ultimately, I am truly inspired by global fare, locally-sourced, and market fresh foods. I love the challenge of adding my own flair to comforting international classics and making them vegan friendly for everyone to enjoy. That makes my day, everyday.

- Chef Soozee