mimi

ABOUT

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Before I started my culinary career late in life, I began my professional career in the glamorous world of model management and the fashion industry. I was conflicted between giving in to my immigrant parents’ mantra to study for a “practical” skill and my yearning to do something more creative, so I studied both: fashion merchandising at the Art Institute of Houston and marketing at the University of Houston.

I eventually followed my dream of opening a boutique marketing agency, which gave me many press coverage and accolades, and two proclamations from the mayor of Houston for my charity involvements. It was very rewarding at the beginning but I was burnt out after 15 years, so when my lease was up, I was more than ready to close my business and take a long overdue break. It was during this time that my husband was offered a great job in Florida, so the timing was perfect for both of us to enter a new chapter of our lives.

MY CHEF STORY

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When we moved to Florida in 2011, I stopped working and threw myself into domestic bliss. Although I’ve been cooking all my life, but it was during this time that I honed in my cooking skill and found my “calling”. And after our daughter moved away to college, I finally decided to combine my cooking skill, marketing background, and global culinary exposure from my travels to form @TheTasteCurator, a popup dinner and consulting service to modern eateries.

My parents used to have a seafood restaurant when I was in college, where my siblings and I helped out in all aspects of the business. However, that was the extent of my restaurant knowledge. Maybe it was a blessing that I wasn’t too familiar with the culinary industry when I started out, that explained my fearlessness in approaching local upscale restaurants to partner with me in my VIGLO (Vietnamese with global influences) popup dinners; and my boldness in applying for staging opportunities at two of the most prestigious Michelin-starred (and #Worlds50Best list) restaurants in the world,@PerseNY and @Gaggan_anand, where I was accepted in both, even without having formal training.

I give credit to my professional marketing background for helping me put together a visually stunning portfolio of my food images with a professional cover letter, that got me those prestigious stages, even for much more experienced chefs with better accolades.

Instead of going through the traditional route of attending an American culinary school, due to the niche and specialty of my food, I felt my time and money would have been much better spent from traveling the world and taking cooking lessons from acclaimed (even Michelin-starred) chefs all over the globe – which I did.

Recipes

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Soup & Salad

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Appetizer & Side

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Praises From ViGLO Diners

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Jared L.

“It was fantastic from start to finish. Having just returned from dining at @restaurantmirazur the #1 restaurant in the world, I can attest that Chef Mimi’s skills in the kitchen are world class. The VOGLO dinner was amazing and something Jacksonville needs more of”

Stephanie Y.

“The food was DELICIOUS and CREATIVE, and we had such a nice time catching up with all friends and meeting some new friends!”

Michael M.

“We really enjoyed the dinner. The salad and the ramen were particularly DELICIOUS! It was a very nice group of people. Thank you very much for doing this – we had a great meal of AUTHENTIC VIETNAMESE VIGLO food, and it is a real addition to the JACKSONVILLE DINING SCENE!”

Dr. Si P.

“Thank you for the wonderful dinner. We LOVED THE FOOD and the AMBIENCE.”

Dr. Justin N.

“Thank you for the WONDERFUL dinner with all TRIP characters (Taste/ Rarity/ Ingredient/ Presentation). We both enjoyed it thoroughly.”

Alexandra N.

“What a WONDERFUL evening. We LOVED THE CULINARY CREATIONS and the company of new friends.”

Shana L.

“We had such a nice time at your VIGLO event, and the food was OUT-OF-THIS-WORLD FANTASTIC.”

Danielle F.

“Your VIGLO dinner last night was OUTSTANDING! Every dish was DELICIOUS and they looked INCREDIBLE too. My friends all said the same. I definitely want to go to your next one.”

Sasha N.

“A BEAUTIFUL COMPREHENSIVE EXPERIENCE with the consistency of the theme throughout many details. The food was DELICIOUS, let alone the uniqueness of each and appeal of the presentation.”

Hannah

“WORTH EVERY DOLLAR.”

Christine B.

“Love the ambience, quality ingredients, art of plating, and a touch of MOLECULAR GASTRONOMY.”

Tracy

“Loved meeting new people & such DELICIOUS food.”

Chung-Hae C.

“Thank you for sharing your CULINARY GIFT with us. You did a great job as a chef, hostess, and artist.”

Mae B.

“Thank you for such an AMAZING dining experience. My family LOVED it. Next time, we will likely bring more members of our family!”

Praises From Industry

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Heather Schatz

Producer - WJCT

“I truly appreciate the amount of thought & effort that goes into Chef Mimi's Viglo dinners, not just from a FOOD perspective, but also from a prep, plating and PRESENTATION, and SERVICE perspective. I also loved the fact that she took the time to explain to her guests the background, inspiration and flavors in each dish. Jacksonville is lucky to have someone as talented as Chef Mimi based here. And the fact that she is willing to share her unique experience and vision with us is great not just for those who can attend her dinners, but also for the city's larger CULINARY SCENE.

Matthew Medure

Executive Chef/Proprietor of Matthew’s Restaurant

“We recently had the pleasure of hosting our first VIGLO dinner with @TheTasteCurator, a French popup collaboration. Chef Mimi Lan did a WONDERFUL job planning, preparing and executing this event. Our guests from the evening can agree it was worth the hours she spent behind the scenes. Her level of commitment and ATTENTION TO DETAILS are unmatched, and we thoroughly enjoyed watching the night unfold filled with all of the SPECIAL TOUCHES she prepared”

Dennis Chan

Cookbook Author, Culinary Instructor, Executive Chef/Proprietor of Blue Bamboo RestaurantMatthew Medure

“Chef Mimi Lan is truly passionate about good food, and good experiences. Her METICULOUS attention to detail and photographable plates are inspiring and heartwarming to anyone who sees them. There is nothing ordinary about Chef Lan’s food, often described as simply SPECTACULAR. Her dedication to serving only the best is a true gift to our food community. She’s a CHEF WITH A BIG HEART, and her love for food is second only to her love for people. I admire her charitable work through food and am grateful to be able to work with her often.”

Anna Heise

Food Blogger Annaeatzjax.com, @annaeatzjax

“I was so pleased that I had the opportunity to attend Chef Mimi Lan’s Viglo #2, a MASTERFUL TRIP through some of the most SUMTUOUS FOOD I have ever experienced. The food was absolutely INCREDIBLE, from preparation to presentation, very pleasing. Each dish placed before me was FRESH and simply exquisite. Intricate, BEAUTIFUL FLAVORS, PERRFECT PRESENTATION.”

Lauren Titus

Food Editor of Edible magazine

“The evening was ENCHANTING and DELICIOUS. The meal was carefully planned out to be both flavorful and informative. Each course was BEAUTIFULLY PLATED, and I heard comments from other diners about how the plates were so pretty they hated to eat the food. But they did, and everyone talked about trying new flavor combinations. I learned some new information about Vietnamese cuisine, about the noodles especially, and it was IMPRESSIVE how the CULTURAL ASPECT of the meal were included in each course.”

Cary Hart

Proprietor - Aqua Grill

“Chef Mimi Lan’s dedication, passion, attention to details, and high quality cooking attributed to the HUGE SUCCESS of our VIGLO dinner. Anyone who attends one of her dinners will have a very MEMORABLE UNIQUE evening and will be introduced new tasty cuisine that they will crave in the future

Nate Mayo

Food Blogger @NateDoesFood, #NomnomJaxProprietor - Aqua Grill

“You NAILED IT everytime Mimi”

Barbara Bredehoeft

Proprietor - bb’s Restaurant

“Chef Mimi Lan has truly brought a UNIQUE experience to Northeast Florida, and a CULTURAL SERIES to Jacksonville that is unforgettable. After 20 years at bb's, I get a kick out of something new and different to keep my staff stimulated. Chef Mimi was the perfect fit for that equation. We loved having her at bb's and enjoyed the cultural exchange. Her food is AUTHENTIC and her energy is contagious. It was truly a MEMORABLE experience.”

Affiliations

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TASTEagram @thetastecurator

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