Michelin-starred Lao American Chef James Syhabout’s first book
Little Laos: What was your most influential memory growing up?
Chef James Syhabout: I remember our living situation, and how we made things happen. We were always pushing to do better. It encompasses how I carry myself. You want to do better with the next generation.
Gathering together to eat was a big deal, making time for weekend get-togethers. They were large, like 12-15 of us. For the Lao community, it’s about conversations and having fun over food. That’s the best part of those moments.
Little Laos: Do you think your personal story is important to appreciating the recipes in “Hawker Fare” or can it stand alone?
CJS: I think the story is more important than the recipes. Without the stories, they don’t carry any weight. Food is a powerful thing. It’s more than nourishment, it’s an identifier.
LL: How would you describe Lao food to the world?
CJS: It’s by taste and sound. Lao cooking is simple. You use your instinct. It doesn’t require science. One day of cooking can be different from another. It’s a mixed bag.
(To learn more about Chef James Syhabout, and finish his interview, click on the photo).