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5 Questions for Chef Helene An

BY Heather Platt | April 13, 2018 | Feature Features

Legendary L.A.-based chef Helene An talks about the past, present and what's to come.
Helene An

What is your new vision for Crustacean?
It’s an homage to where we’ve come from and where we’re going, thanks to some very creative dishes from our new chef, Tony Nguyen. Tony has worked for House of AN for years and will bring a fun and innovative approach to modern Vietnamese cuisine.

The renovation will entail transforming the bones of the original restaurant into two concepts. How will the two concepts differ from each other and the existing restaurant?
The first floor will feature a menu of my familiar Asian-fusion dishes, but with more of a modern Vietnamese focus. Don’t worry, though; we’ll still have the An family’s well-known Secret Kitchen. The new upstairs concept will be an invitation-only, highly exclusive dining experience.

Will we still be able to enjoy your famous garlic noodles?
Of course! As an added bonus, we’ll be introducing a gluten-free option. My youngest daughter had been suggesting a gluten-free option for a while, and we feel that it will be a great addition to our new Beverly Hills menu.

What have been some of your most career-defining moments?
In 2007, my family was honored by the Smithsonian Institute for our contribution to America’s culinary arts and was recognized for introducing Vietnamese cuisine to mainstream America. The museum shared our inspiring story in a Vietnamese-American exhibit, and it was truly a meaningful moment.

What are some menu items we can look forward to at the new Crustacean?
In addition to our signature Secret Kitchen dishes, our new menu will offer modern Vietnamese cuisine combined with California and European fare. Standout dishes include: pho soup dumplings with xiao long bao in a royal broth; tuna cigars presented in a cigar box; and a Himalayan salt block of A-5 wagyu of Matsusaka.

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