Chef Grace Nguyen

by Michele Pesula Kuegler | June 28th, 2012 | Restaurant News

If you are like most adults, you probably have times when your day is too busy to prepare dinner.  Unfortunately, quite often you are left with poor choices, such as greasy takeout meals or a cookie cutter of a dinner at a chain restaurant.  If you live in the Bay Area, you are fortunate in that you have a much better option.  Asian Box, located in Palo Alto, offers its diners fresh, healthy dishes that can be eaten at the restaurant or taken home.

We were able to speak with Chef Grace Nguyen, who not only is the executive chef but also is one of the co-founders.

TT:  When you decided to open Asian box, what made you decide to focus almost solely on this style of dish?

CN:  Well, it is the food that I have cooked my whole life, growing up in a Vietnamese family and all. It is close to my heart and we figured that there is not enough good Asian food out there at this price point and quality.

TT:  What is your favorite box combination?

CN:  It is always changing because I love all of these flavors and ingredients, and all of the food on the whole menu is designed to eat well together, no matter what combination you may choose. The possibilities are endless. Right now it is 6 Spice Chicken, Brown Rice, Peanuts, Fresh Herbs, Jalapenos No-Oil Fish Sauce and Peanut Sauce. It’s a good one.

TT:  In the Add-on step, you have caramel egg listed; what is that?

CN:  The caramel egg is a Vietnamese specialty that is super delicious, plus it adds some great protein to the box. We make it by cooking some eggs hard boiled style, then peeling them and simmering the eggs in our house caramel sauce which is brown sugar and fish sauce. Our guests love them!

TT:  Which of the menu items were inspired by cooking with your family?

CN:  All of the menu items are inspired by cooking with my family, especially my Grandmother who taught me so much. I grew up helping out in the kitchen as it was mandatory for the young girls to do so.

TT:  Do you plan to expand your menu at any point in the future?

CN:  Absolutely! We are working on some specials that we will roll out in the future so stay tuned.

TT:  What makes Asian Box unique?

CN:  Asian Box is unique in a couple ways. First, we are a 100% gluten free concept with 100% gluten free kitchens and products. Employees are not even allowed to bring outside food in so we can keep this integrity. Also, we are unique because few people are doing this fresh, vibrant, delicious food at such an approachable price point. We source local foods, use sustainable practices in all we do including all of our packaging, and actually care about where the food comes from and what we are serving to our guests.

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