Chopstick Cinema

Celeste Heiter's Adventures in Asian Food & Film

My Culinery Experience

I have a confession to make. Although I cook Japanese, Chinese, Indian, and Arabic food on a regular basis, I don't know thing one about Vietnamese food, much less how to prepare a five course Vietnamese meal. So the learning curve is going to be really steep on this culinary project. However, after years of experience in the restaurant business, I'm a passable chef, not to mention that I have enjoyed hundreds of memorable meals in some of the world's best restaurants. And besides, I'm addicted to the Food Network and sometimes stay up watching cooking shows until nearly sunrise. So... I'm not about to be intimidated by one little Vietnamese dinner menu. The biggest challenge for me, I think, is going to be finding all the requisite ingredients in the town of Napa, California, where I live. Although we have a dozen major supermarkets here in town, we do not have even one Asian grocery (although we do have a Trader Joe's), so I may have to venture pretty far afield to find all the authentic components of a traditional Vietnamese meal. Fortunately, there are several multi-cultural towns nearby, and in a pinch, I can always drive to San Francisco or Oakland if need be.