Chef Thomas Newsted, who was born in Việt Nam, has prepared a special entree to celebrate One Book One Valley, available starting January 7. Show your Library Card for 10% off (this entree only). Here are details, and Chef Thomas’s story …
Bánh xèo ([ɓǎjŋ̟ sɛ̂w]) is a Vietnamese Crepe made with rice flour. The crepe(s) are cooked with pork belly, shrimp and designed to be rolled in a leafy lettuce such as green or red leaf lettuce filled with herbs like mint, basil, ngo gai (an herb reminiscent of mint and cilantro). In our case, we will be using cilantro, thai basil, mint and shiso. Accompanied by a dipping sauce made up of; fish sauce, sugar, lime juice, shredded daikon, shredded carrot and chili paste. We will serve 3 small crepes per order with all of the fixings on the side. This can be enjoyed with a fork and knife, but traditionally is hand-held – like pizza.
Chef Thomas’s story
Chef Thomas writes: “I wanted to highlight a dish that incorporates all the parts, that embraces my childhood, life experiences and colonial French influence for a better part of a decade. My life started in Việt Nam until the age of 7, where I arrived in Biloxi, Mississippi. After 1 year, I moved to Florida to live with my Father whom is from Washington State, my second mother, Nancy whom is from North Carolina and here I am figuring out how everyone consumes different styles of food learning all of the differences that go along with that experience. Through life’s progress, hospitality became my career and life’s work, mainly through hotels and restaurants. Then I married my wife, Marisol whom is from Acapulco, Mexico, continuing to dive into different cultures, expanding upon what had been a trend of experiences. So this dish through the cooking methods of pork belly, French influence with crepe making and by name, herbs, aromatics, presentation and sharing experience, I felt was the best fit for the library event, highlighting Việt Nam through all of its evolution and influences.”
Thank you to Bird & Jim Restaurant and Chef Thomas for this culinary and literary crossroads!