Rising Chefs Challenge Winner Vo Hoang Sang: Tell the Stories of His Roots through Exquisite and Meaningful Flavors

3:32:30 PM | 6/21/2022

Leading payments technology company Mastercard recently concluded its search for Vietnam’s rising culinary talents through Rising Chefs Challenge, in partnership with Vietcetera, KOTO in Hanoi and The Center for Sponsoring - Vocational Training and Employment Introduction of Ho Chi Minh City.

Vo Hoang Sang - demi chef at Pullman Saigon - was crowned the winner of the Rising Chefs Challenge in Saigon. We had a chat with him about his cooking journey, his inspirations and future goals after winning the prestigious title.

Vo Hoang Sang and his team successful won the highest title at Rising Chefs Challenge in Ho Chi Minh City

Can you share about your inspiration for culinary? How did you begin your cooking career?

No matter the origin or background, good food often has a beautiful story behind them. Similarly, my food is inspired by meaningful moments and experiences in my life; hence, tell the story of my journey as a cook.

More than that, I am driven by the feedback of my diners. Whether they give good or bad reviews of my dishes, I’d take them as my inspiration to continue my journey and constantly improve my skills, so that I can win their hearts with my unique dishes and flavors. It is the customers that fuel my passion for cooking and inspire me to pour my love for culinary into every dish.

Do you have a meaningful moment throughout your career that you find “priceless”?

I actually have 2 (laugh). First one is when I was awarded “Best employee of the Year” by Pullman Saigon, where I’m working as a demi-chef. It’s rewarding to know that my effort and hard work paid off and was appreciated by my customers, colleagues and employers.

The second is when my crew won first place in the “Rising Chefs Challenge”. This for me was a life-changing experience, and definitely one of the most important milestones on my journey as a chef.

Ms. Winnie Wong, Mastercard Country Manager for Vietnam, Cambodia and Laos presented the highest prize to chef Vo Hoang Sang

What was your motivation to join the competition? What did you expect from this experience?

My sole intention entering Rising Chef was to win the judges with my distinctive flavors. That’s the reason why I poured every piece of my knowledge, experience and dedication into the dishes that I presented.

The acknowledgement of prestigious chefs and culinary experts itself has been the greatest reward for me. But on top of that, I was hoping that with this win, I could pay tribute to my family, my teachers and loved ones, who have been consistently showing great love and support to my journey as a chef. It’s truly priceless to be able to share this joy with the dearest people in life.

What are your goals and plans for the future?

My plan is to continue to spread the love for food and cooking to all that share the common passion for culinary arts, especially the younger generation as they are to shape the future of the culinary landscape. I also set the goal to open a small restaurant of traditional Vietnamese cuisine, and contribute to promoting our exquisite flavors across the world.

Chef Sang plans to spread the love for culinary to young generation and continue to promote the traditional flavors of Vietnam

Rising Chefs Challenge had its first run in Hanoi’s Almax Convention Center on March 25, and later wrapped up its journey with a second edition at Q.uriosity Culinary Academy in Ho Chi Minh City on April 1. Head chef Trinh Van Bac and sous chef Giang Mi Hung from Hanoi, and Head chef Vo Hoang Sang and sous chef Ngo Truong Minh from Ho Chi Minh City came out as the winners, showing their ingenuity through a full-course menu that stimulated even the most sophisticated palate.

Chef Sang took inspiration from meaningful moments in his own life and incorporated them into his cooking, which is colored vividly with stories about his hometown and his mother. His first dish to impress was a beef salad with star fruits and green bananas - a seemingly muted option that is sometimes overlooked, but a strong representation of his roots. And with these dishes, he wowed all judges and audience with his story to never forget where you came from.

Vo Hoang Sang's exquisite beef roll dish, inspired by the stories of his roots

Chef Sang’s team and fellow winning team received digital prepaid cards from Mastercard, as well as a two-month apprenticeship with renowned head chefs at Tung Dining and A by Tung  - a one-off opportunity to upskill and leverage their expertise in culinary.

Thank you very much!

The Rising Chefs Challenge is part of the event series under Flavors Vietnam, a grand celebration of Vietnam’s resilient and trailblazing F&B industry presented by Mastercard and Vietcetera. Rising Chefs Challenge was a one-off event for young, promising chefs to build and expand their professional network with the big players in the F&B industry, a chance to earn their well-deserved media exposure beneficial to their culinary career, and to prove themselves to the jury of distinguished chefs and influencers.