Synopses & Reviews
For the first time in 40 years, renowned master chef Helene An of Crustacean Beverly Hills and the An Family restaurant dynasty is sharing the delicious dishes that got her inducted into the Smithsonian Institute for her culinary contributions to America, and the incredible stories behind them.
Along with her favorite recipes (which brilliantly marries traditional Vietnamese fare with French and farm-fresh Californian), An chronicles her personal transformation from pampered "princess" in French Colonial Vietnam, to refugee to restaurateur. It's a fascinating peek at a lost world...From Indochina's lush fields to family kitchen gardens in California, An tells of her harrowing journey and how it has influenced her cuisine.
Why is it called The Secret Kitchen? As An built her restaurant empire, she wanted to protect her family's legacy and keep corporate spies at bay, so she constructed a completely separate kitchen within each of her restaurant kitchens - only family members were allowed access. After a lifetime of perfecting her signature dishes, she has decided it's time to share her experiences and favorite recipes with everyone. Now every home cook is welcome to try her cuisine!
Mother Helene and daughter Jacqueline pair up to chronicle Helene's storied life from historical and culinary perspectives. Helene the famed owner of the House of An would tell her children the stories behind the many meals she cooked. Traditional Vietnamese recipes are passed down orally so Jacqueline sought a way to permanently record her mother's story and recipes as well as to depict the lifestyle of a forgotten time. Together they tell Helene's story through food sharing traditional recipes and modern takes on American dishes with Asian touches. They tout the healthiness of Vietnamese cuisine and seek to demystify this way of cooking. The authors highlight common cooking techniques their favorite ingredients and the secrets to cooking perfect rice. Cornerstone classic dishes include oven roasted lemongrass chicken beef pho and spicy chicken and shrimp ramen in cognac XO sauce. Gorgeous full color photos will leave readers craving their stunning slow roasted pork with ginger balsamic glaze; coconut spare ribs; and caramelized lemongrass shrimp. Part biography part history lesson and part celebration of the crisp freshness of Vietnamese cuisine this superb collection will attract and entice a new legion of cooks who seek healthy and flavorful food. (May) " Publishers Weekly Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved."
In Vietnamese, AN means TO EAT, a happy coincidence, since the An family has built an award-winning restaurant empire including the renowned celebrity favorite Crustacean Beverly Hillsthat has been toasted by leading food press, including Bon Appetit, Gourmet, InStyle and the Food Network. Helene An, executive chef and matriarch of the House of An, is hailed as the mother of fusion and was inducted into the Smithsonian Institute for her signature style that brings together Vietnamese, French, and California- fresh influences. Now her daughter Jacqueline tells the family story and shares her mother's delicious and previously secret recipes, including Mama's Beef Pho, Drunken Crab, and Oven-Roasted Lemongrass Chicken.
Helene's transformation from pampered princess in French Colonial Vietnam, to refugee then restaurateur, and her journey from Indochina's lush fields to family kitchen gardens in California are beautifully chronicled throughout the book. The result is a fascinating peek at a lost world, and the evolution of an extraordinary cuisine. The 100 recipes in An: To Eat feature clean flavors, simple techniques, and unique twists that could only have come from Helene's personal story.
About the Author
grew up in French Colonial Vietnam where her aristocratic parents entertained nightly. It was there she learned to blend the cuisines of Chinese, Vietnamese, and French, which reflected the cultural traditions of Indochina at the time. When Indochina fell to the Communists in 1955, her family escaped to Saigon. Helene had to flee her homeland once again in 1975, and settled in San Francisco, where she opened the first Vietnamese restaurant in the city. She and her family now have five restaurants throughout California, including the Crustacean of Beverly Hills, which was named one of the "Top 10 Restaurants" in the US by Esquire
Jacqueline An is one of Helene's five daughters and is CFO of the House of An, a rapidly growing hospitality, restaurant, and lifestyle empire.