In the culinary world, a chef’s path can be just as fascinating as the food they create! We had the pleasure of chatting with Chef Curtis Demyon, a highly experienced chef who graciously shared his culinary adventures and the inspiration behind Elgin, a restaurant known for its innovation.
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Elgin Saigon – Where It All Began
Curtis Demyon began his culinary career 26 years ago, entering the restaurant business at sixteen.
As a child growing up in the Canadian Midwest, I was always intrigued with the kitchen, spending time in the garden, and butchery when hunting season came around. After high school, I attended university for one year; that was enough for me. Back to the kitchen I went, and I have never looked back.Curtis Demyon
But there’s more to the Elgin story – at its heart is a passionate co-founder, Mimi Truong, who has brought remarkable dedication and vision to Elgin since August 2022. Her boundless passion and unwavering commitment have been instrumental in shaping Elgin into the culinary gem it is today. As we explore this story, we’ll discover more than delicious food and experiences. We’ll also celebrate the remarkable leadership that makes this restaurant special.
Vietnam Is Awesome interview with co-founder Mimi and chef Curtis
Redefining Casual Dining in Vietnam with a Dash of Innovation
Nestled in the heart of Vietnam, Elgin is different from your typical restaurant. So, what sets Elgin apart? It’s their commitment to offering quality food at an affordable price. Their flavors blend different yet familiar, taking you on a journey while providing comfort. The restaurant’s name, Elgin, is a nod to the street in Hong Kong known for its bustling atmosphere and diverse array of restaurants, from cozy mom-and-pop shops to Michelin-star establishments. Elgin’s founders crossed paths earlier in their careers on this very street, and it became the inspiration behind the restaurant’s food concept.
Delectable Global Flavors
Take their signature Pork Belly, for instance. It’s a masterpiece that combines Asian-inspired fish sauce and lime caramel sauce with a surprising twist – crispy Brussels sprouts, an ingredient not commonly found in Asian cuisine. For Mimi and Curtis, it’s all about blending global flavors in unexpected and delightful ways.
Lauren with Elgin’s Signature Pork Belly
Elgin’s philosophy is rooted in bringing people together through food. It’s about the joy of sharing a meal and creating memorable experiences. The chef emphasized:
“Food is a universal language. It’s a way to connect with people from all walks of life. We want to create those connections at Elgin.”
They’re also pioneers in pushing the natural wine culture in Vietnam. With a focus on organic, biodynamic, and natural wines, they’re changing the wine landscape unpretentiously. In Vietnam’s vibrant culinary scene, Elgin is a restaurant where every meal has a story, and they’re always trying new flavors and ideas.
Elevate your time with good food, fine wine and cozy place at Elgin Saigon
Crafting a Personal and Touching Experience
Elgin’s magic starts well before you walk through the door. From making a reservation to the warm welcome and engaging conversations at the bar counter, every detail is meticulously planned to make you feel like family. Beyond food, the team at Elgin aims to create enduring memories and connections for its guests, both local and from afar. Special occasions are met with personalized touches, from handwritten birthday cards for regular patrons to custom plate inscriptions, team serenades, and fun Polaroid photos, making your visit even more unforgettable. As a parting gift, an Elgin sticker not only symbolizes your experience but also acts as a bridge to people far and wide, finding its place on phones, laptops, and helmets as a cherished reminder of your time here.
Yet, this venture is about more than just the restaurant. Driven by a dream to elevate Ho Chi Minh’s F&B scene, the founders want their work to inspire other restaurateurs and together improve the standards of global cuisine in the city.
We also share our guest feedback with other industry professionals to hear their opinion and work together to help build the F&B scene in the city!Mimi Truong
Over the past year, the team has actively engaged with the local community, collaborating with fellow F&B establishments and nurturing local talent through events like the NOSH Young Guns collective. They’ve also made a point to host enjoyable occasions to bring the community together and showcase their unique personalities. These events include pop-up dinners with local and international chef friends, wine tastings, and memorable themed dinners, such as their recent Disco and Y2K-themed evenings.
At Elgin, food, experience, sustainability, community, and ongoing refinement craft a distinct and inspiring narrative.
Looking Ahead: A Glimpse into Elgin Saigon’s Future
Elgin, as a restaurant, has journeyed far beyond the conventional definition of an eatery. It’s grown to be a young star in the local restaurant industry, sharing knowledge and ideas in a unique yet satisfying setting. Moreover, Elgin is no stranger to accolades, earning a place on the prestigious Michelin-Selected list of Vietnam for 2023. This recognition is a testament to their unwavering commitment to culinary excellence.
In its forward-looking vision, Elgin doesn’t simply push the boundaries of casual dining; its mission is to establish a tradition that transforms how we enjoy food. Elgin isn’t just a great place to eat; it’s a testament to the lasting impact of boundless passion, inspiring future young hospitality professionals along the way.