Vien Nguyen

Vien Nguyen

Born:

My Tho, South Vietnam.
 
Have you always wanted to be a Chef? 

Never even crossed my mind to be honest. I wanted to be an architect straight out of school, but when I moved to the Gold Coast from Canberra in 2002, it was only to be expected that my Mother-in-law would open a restaurant and ask us to help her run it.

It was my first time being involved in setting up a brand-new restaurant from an empty shell. My wife managed the everyday running of the business while I was taken under the wing of my Mother-in-law and she taught me how to cook.

After 12 years of learning from Mum, she wanted to retire which is when we were given the opportunity to buy the business from her. From that moment on was when I genuinely started to enjoy cooking.

My passion for wanting to deliver tasty Asian food and present it well became the forefront of my mind. I wanted to share more and more my experiences through eating tasty food from our travels through Asia and the simple homemade meals we ate at our dinner table.

This led us to brainstorm a concept that was yet to be explored here on the Gold Coast, a place we would want to dine at for ourselves. Could we actually create a space that transported our diners away from where they actually are?

If we succeeded in that, to then let them experience each dish with a prominent flavour that stood up to all the original ingredients and be able to honour the Asian country it came from?

We set out our goal and worked at it for 2 years until we found this hidden location in Robina. There was a lot of trial and error, learning and growing to get me to where I am now, which I’m sure I will be doing for the rest of my culinary journey.

We just hope we have elevated the taste buds of our guests and pushed the boundaries of their Asian flavour palate beyond what they knew before.
 
How would you define your style?

My style would simply be food I love eating from the street market stalls of South-east Asia to refined tasty food - as long as it’s full of flavour punch.
 
What is your feature flavour these days?

I take pride in my sauces and condiments, this is what boosts the dish to the next level. These ingredients are key to the complex layers you can taste when you take your first bite.
 
Obsessive-compulsive about?

Cleanliness and organisation in the restaurant. 
  
Your greatest culinary influence:

My Mother-in-law. 
 
What do you love about this business?

Seeing the enjoyment on people’s faces when they eat my food. 
 
An ingredient you can’t live without?

Chillies.
 
Most ‘eyebrow-raising’ menu item?

Soy sauce ice cream. 
 
Signature dish: 

Char-grilled King prawns, burnt garlic butter and shrimp paste.
 
Why should diners visit your restaurant and what can they expect? 

A dark intimate dining space with cool vibes thanks to our 90s RnB playlist. A specially curated wine, sake and cocktails drinks list perfectly paired to our refined modern Asian food, with each dish presenting flavours true to its place of origin.

 
What do you think the past 12 months of COVID has taught restaurants and Chefs about their diners and the industry in general?

That we need to adapt quickly with the times and conditions that present and pivot our business model away from the norm so we can at least survive.

Diners on the Gold Coast are slowing learning to try different cuisines and have become more open to new styles of dining. The industry as a whole has had it tough and many have lost their businesses, which has made us all appreciate what we have. This has created a supportive community within the hospitality industry itself.
 
Tell us something no one knows about you?
 
I sold vacuum cleaners for a week and got paid $500.
 
Where do you see yourself in 5 years’ time?

Opening another restaurant or bar and working 100 hours (joking).

Eddy + Wolff

Eddy + Wolff

Imagine a small bar in Asia off the beaten track and immerse yourself in true and authentic flavours at Eddy + Wolff on Ron Penhaligon Way in Robina. Named after the two streets the Vietnamese owners grew up on, this cosy intimate space transports you to another time, where you feel a sense of belonging and a connection to where their love for food all started. Pink neon Chinese characters light up the entry, comfy bar stools and a sexy wine list ensure a good time for all; as you ponder a unique menu – with plates of barbequed octopus tentacle and tangy Nashi pear glaze. Perhaps try the new signature dish of crispy barramundi with spicy nam jim jaew, great with a side of bok choy and steamed rice; finishing indulgently with a sweet and savoury dessert of soy sauce ice cream.

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