Listen to Nova chat with Yia Vang. Yia is a James Beard nominated chef, competed on the Netflix revival of Iron Chef, hosted Food Network’s Stokes, and has a new streaming show called Feral. He’s the chef and owner of the James Bearn nominated Union Hmong Kitchen in Minneapolis.
Yia tells Nova what his why is – his parents and their sacrifices.
He shares how he didn’t like working in kitchens, initially. He found he was good at cooking – even though it was not the path he originally intended to take. After college, Yia had gotten a degree in communications in college, and wanted to use that – but found he was in love with food and working in the kitchen.
He realized his legacy with his parents was interconnected with the foods they ate. As refugees, everything that his parents did was for their kids.
Narrative and catalyst - It’s about people
Yia talks about how he got into being a storyteller. He grew up as a curious kid. He loves words and the history of words. He loves to challenge people with food and the story behind it.
“Food is a universal language.”
Yia gets into how the cultural DNA of the Hmong people is woven into their food.
“As humans, we were created for community.”
Yia talks about the Secret War and the genocide of the Hmong people after the US pulled out of Vietnam – and the impact that had on the Hmong.
When handed the mic, Yia asks Nova if she ever had a moment where she wanted to quit – and what got her through that.
What is your why?
Making a difference
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