Business Profile: Otao Kitchen
Tuesday 17 October 2017
Since 2014, Ha Nguyen has been the Director and Chef Trainer at Otao Kitchen on Victoria Street in Richmond. Otao offers Vietnamese, Thai and Japanese cooking classes.
Prior to that, his career took him around the world. He started in Hanoi local restaurants and the Hilton Opera Hotel before moving to New Zealand and then to Australia. He worked along Great Ocean Road at the Twelve Apostles Lodge Walk before starting Otao.
He says, "I believe that cooking, eating and sharing should be an experience, not just a meal. I created OTAO Kitchen as an extension of my passion for food and to share this passion with others."
"Food plays an important role in my Vietnamese culture heritage and is central to our family life. Sharing a meal with family and loved ones is a traditional and happy experience. "
Ha believes that Victoria Street in Richmond is the perfect location for their cooking school. He says, "Richmond is well-known for Asian food eateries with generations of Melbournians eating Vietnamese foods on Victoria street. Having a cooking school with Asian food such as Vietnamese, Thai, Japanese, Dumplings… is like having the foods of the street."
Ha is most inspired by local business Fareshare. "Fareshare is a not-for-profit that rescues surplus food and cooks free meals for Victorians who need most. Their works help to avoid food waste and reduce the foods to landfill. This helps the environment but also re-distributes foods to people who need it."
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Some of Ha's favourite venues: