Culinary Professional Winner: Kimber Hoang

Kimber Hoang

Magenta Restaurant


867 Votes

Kimber is one of two winners of our contest. Below you can find her contest entry essay, the recipe she submitted, and our interview Q&A. Bon Appétit!


Why I deserve to go to the NRA:

Hello! I’m very happy to say I will be celebrating my 13th year anniversary of my restaurant, Magenta, this June 18. Without any former culinary education, or much in my pocket to start with, I have created my high end fusion restaurant in a very small town of Corvallis, Oregon. Food is my passion and is an art to me, and is due to eating very well at home. I had to do what I had to do to build my little dream. Never have built a wall nor done any dry wall stuff before, I have figured a way to make my little tiny restaurant in a mall across from OSU campus looked “as if they were sitting in Paris”, as many of our customers have said. Nine years later, I was fortunate enough to have found a building in downtown of Corvallis of my very own. It is now quite the “amazing building”, and most from my own sweat and time. And, this last August, I just made a purchase of another building downtown. I am creative and very original. I don’t like to copy other’s recipes, as I think it is more fun to create my own and i can have another excuse to pat myself on the back :). Since Magenta restaurant opened, I have made it to several front pages of the newspapers, sunset magazine, opened several more other restaurants in town. I am known in town as the sauce gal! I am all about sauce! Flavor is a huge thing for me. It can look pretty, but if it doesn’t taste flavorful, it isn’t going to do it for me. I also hold my very own courses on cooking, “Feel the Flavors”. This teaches people to use all of their senses while cooking, and using the last is their tongue, and only if they have to.
Now, I ask myself this question too, “Why do I deserve to go to the NRA?” My whole heart and soul is in the restaurant industry, I have so much more to tell as I am very proud of all the things I have created and done in the past 13 years. You will have a person you can share and be proud of going to the NRA!

My Recipe:

Chilean Sea Bass & Sautéed Pork in a Hot Dried Pan:

1/2 cup chopped onion
1 1/2 teaspoon of chopped garlic
1/4 cup of chopped green onions
stir around to get the garlic cooking
add 2 cups ground pork (doesn’t matter if it’s lean or fatty, you’ll just have more fat to dispose)
3 tsp of 3crab brand fish sauce (or any brand, just balance with sugar as the more expensive brands have more sugar content)
1/4 cup chopped mushrooms (any kind, they are all good!)
1/8 cup chopped carrots
1/2 tsp vegetarian base
2 tbsp diced fresh basil
1 tbsp of chopped kaffir lime leaves, or lemongrass if it’s easier to find.
1/4 tsp white pepper or black pepper if you don’t have white.

Cook until pork is greyish in color (doesn’t sound pretty but it’s the color you are looking for.
Now, butterfly your big chunk of Chilean Sea Bass, if you can’t find this bass, any other fatty and flaky fish is fine. When using a thin fish, you will not have to butterfly.
Sprinkle fish with 1 tsp of fish sauce, lightly rub into fish.
Pour pork mixture over one end of the bass, then roll over to the end to form a log.
Wrap banana leaves all over the bass log and cover as much as you can, tying using strips of the leaves.
Bake at 375
Buy a piece of fresh fish so you can have it a little rare!
10 minutes after oven has reached its temperature
Finish with white wine and cream in pan for a quick glaze


The Interview:

1.       How does it feel to win an all-expense paid trip to the 2011 NRA Show?

Very thankful to all my great friends and big fans from of Corvallis and the surrounding cities.

2.       What do you plan on getting out of your trip to the NRA?

Learn about new tools in all aspects towards a perfect restaurant.  (I’m opening another restaurant, yet in a very small space and with an entry of an alley.  I will need to fit everything effectively yet keeping comfortable space)

3.       How did you go about getting all of those votes? What did you do that helped the most (Facebook, Emails, etc)?

Email addresses from customers on file, requesting customers to leave their email addresses in our log book for this competition, Yes Facebook & texting all of my friends with a smartphone.

4.       Why did you want to become a chef?

I truly love eating well!  I enjoy seeing friends enjoying their food!  Yet, becoming a chef was never a lengthy planned deal.  I can tell you the whole story when I talk to you…

5.       What fabric and style of uniform do you enjoy wearing most?

Women fit most definitely!  And cotton, with some blends OK.  We’ve been told, many times, we are very stylish in the kitchen!  Thanks to you guys!

6.       Do you enjoy dining out in your free time?

Any moment I can as it is very much my true passion!  I don’t mind spending hundreds of dollars when it comes to eating well…and I only drink well!

7.       Do you ever get menu ideas from your competitors?

Of course!  I have to see what others are doing in the very near areas so I know NOT to do the same thing as they!  And if I find that once my style or recipe is being used by someone else around, I will immediately change it!  I get ideas on using products, I will be the person creating the rest!

8.       Do you see any changes in food trends?

No, for at least the last 13 years!  It has been modern with a touch of history for this long.  However, the “organic” and “local” thing… is now more prominent!  And of course mending style for allergies that didn’t surface until this decade!

9.       Is there any one thing you would have done differently in starting your culinary career?

Yes, silly thing such as purchasing a business and basically demolished it, using it only for its space!  Yet, I learned a lot too from having no money left, I had to do most things myself, such as building walls!   Cooking related, I enjoyed every moment and wouldn’t know of a better way!

10.   What advice would you give to someone who wants to go into the culinary field?

Organization, know your tools, be the creator, feel from your very own senses.  Get ideas yet Do Not copy others!  Oh, you really can’t be in this field unless you are speedy!

Congratulations again, Kimber, and remember to come see us at the show at Booth #1904!

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