How Anthony Bourdain Inspired a Banker to Create a Culinary Brand

September 23, 2021
Andre Natera

From new technologies and changing food trends to supply chains and innovative concepts, the restaurant industry is everchanging. Host Andre Natera shares kitchens, plates and stories with food and beverage superstars, preparing a new dish and offering valuable insights from the front lines of the culinary industry.

 

The pandemic threw a lot of curveballs at the restaurant industry. It forced chefs to get creative with their offerings and shift their business models to pick-up and to-go while focusing on new revenue streams.

On this episode of Run The Pass, Host Andre Natera talked with Chef Uno Immanivong about her career and how she’s pivoted to make money during the pandemic. Chef Uno is a first-generation Asian American of Laotian descent. She was born in a Thai refugee camp where her parents dreamed of giving her a better life.

“I never thought I’d go down this route, but we sell a ton of pouch drinks because we’re across from SMU, and it’s easy to pop in the freezer or go to the pool,” Immanivong said.

She auditioned for a reality cooking show with Anthony Bourdain and, when he chose to mentor her, it massively altered the course of her life. In 2013, Uno left banking to pursue her passion for cooking, and the journey created the hugely popular Chino Chinatown in Trinity Groves, Red Stix Asian Street Food, and Chef Uno Brands.

Making money in this day and age is no easy task, and Chef Uno Immanivong takes stock to ensure she has multiple income streams. She does off-site catering, pre-packaged catering, pre-planned meals, and to-go drinks, such as pouches.

“I never thought I’d go down this route, but we sell a ton of pouch drinks because we’re across from SMU, and it’s easy to pop in the freezer or go to the pool,” Immanivong said. She focuses on her pick-up and to-go business because she doesn’t want folks in her restaurant at the moment. She also doesn’t use third-party delivery apps because they take too much of a percentage.

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