Tuesday, 22 October 2013

Uyen Luu My Vietnamese Kitchen Book Launch

Uyen Luu very kindly invited me to her recent book launch, and I was delighted to attend. Uyen is a very talented woman, whose cooking class I attended last year (blog post here: http://snigskitchen.blogspot.co.uk/2012/03/back-to-school-leluus-vietnamese.html). Since then I've stayed in touch with her. So I know how much hard work she has put into creating her first cook book "My Vietnamese Kitchen".
Uyen's finished work!

Uyen started off running cooking classes and her Vietnamese supper club to share her culinary heritage. However, she is also a filmmaker and photographer. As a result, her Love, Leluu blog (http://www.leluu.com/) became a go-to place for authentic Vietnamese recipes and pictures of the more difficult to source ingredients. This was exactly how I found her! 


Of course, others came to notice her blog and hear about her cooking classes, such as Jamie Oliver and Raymond Blanc. Vietnamese food is one of the great cuisines of the world, but is only beginning to take off in popularity in the UK. As a result, there aren't many good quality, well written and clearly presented Vietnamese cook books available here. The answer was obvious, Uyen would be perfect to write a book of authentic recipes. Uyen's clear style can be found at her blog, but she also wrote a guest post for this blog which can be found here: http://snigskitchen.blogspot.co.uk/2012/05/guest-post-cooking-tips-from-uyen-luu.html


Uyen's Banh Mi recipe from the book, alongside the real thing!

Uyen decided to hold her launch in her much beloved East London stomping ground. She chose Hurwundeki, a funky and stylish Korean cafe and restaurant with a hairdressers under the arches of the railway running to Cambridge Heath. 


For just £9 or £14, guests could have their hair cut in just 15 minutes. All they had to do was put their names on the chalk board, and wait their turn!

It was a very popular attraction indeed, as people sipped wine and waited for their names to come up.


Although the hairdresser were kept rather busy, Uyen found herself even more busy.... signing copies of her book for her many friends, fans and admirers! 


Of course, food was provided, and this was an opportunity for Uyen to demonstrate her recipes. 

These were the Beef Banh Mi, full of contrasting textures, and complimentary, fresh herby flavours. Yummy!



Summer rolls filled with prawns, herbs and rice noodles. A rich, sweet and thick dipping sauce was also provided. I had more than my fair share of these, so if anyone didn't get to have these, I am SO sorry. Please forgive me!


Scrumptious chicken pate puff pastry mini pies, the puff pastry part of the French influence on Vietnamese culinary traditions.


The food was very popular, being scoffed with enthusiasm by the guests. No wonder the staff found themselves having to prepare more!


It was lovely to see so many people gather together to celebrate such a big achievement. People mingled about with big smiles of pride, whilst enjoying the delicious snacks and a couple of glasses of wine. 


Many of us dream of getting published, but the work and graft involved means it is a dream requiring real commitment and dedication to come to fruition. So it is wonderful to see  my friend's name on a book jacket and book spine, but it cannot be overlooked that this has been a labour of love for Uyen.




I am so proud of Uyen, and I hope the book is a big success. It's out in time for the Christmas market, and let's hope our desire to expand our culinary palettes inspire people to buy it.



The night was very successful. People left clutching their lovingly signed books, and many left with a smart new haircut! A night to remember, with many taking home a couple of special souvenirs.


Although I'm glad I didn't have to do the sweeping up at the end!

Snigdha was grateful to be invited by Uyen Luu as her guest.

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