Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam
Peter Cuong Franklin
Who’s cooking? Peter Cuong Franklin, a Vietnamese-American chef who studied at Le Cordon Bleu and trained at world-famous restaurants including Caprice in Hong Kong, Alinea in Chicago and Nahm in Bangkok. A pioneer of modern Vietnamese and Asian cuisine, he is one of the most recognisable faces on the country’s growing gastronomic scene.
Culinary inspiration: Franklin says that his true inspiration is his mother, who runs a small noodle shop in Dalat (central Vietnam) and is famed for her regional-style pork and turmeric noodle soup and pork sausage steamed in banana leaves. At Anan Saigon, he combines his deep knowledge of Southeast Asian street-food flavours with contemporary international techniques.
What’s the signature dish? The chef’s Caviar Bánh Nhúng is inspired by a traditional waffle cake often found at street food markets in Vietnam, combined with a classic French tart preparation. The tart shell is replaced by a light and crispy Vietnamese rosette pastry made from rice flour and egg, topped with salmon caviar, smoked salmon and crème fraiche. The One Bite Pho, another classic, is a molecular take on Vietnam’s most famous dish, featuring black truffle and wagyu beef in a sphere of pho broth.
Other ventures: Franklin also helms Nhau Nhau cocktail bar and the Pot Au Pho noodle bar, with all his restaurants – including Anan Saigon – located in Chợ Cũ, the oldest wet market in Ho Chi Minh’s city centre.
Bonus point: The cook serves on the advisory board of Streets International, a charity based in Hội An that trains disadvantaged youths for a career and future in F&B.