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You don’t have to be active in the culinary arts scene to have heard of Top Chef Hung Huynh. His rise to the top is a modern-day fairytale, propelled by spontaneity and an insatiable thirst to grow. If there’s one theme that encapsulates his rise to the top, it’s his intuitive desire to keep moving. In his own words, he’s “Constantly tasting, eating, learning.” He’s a chef on a mission to inspire the art of cooking in corners of the world you’d never expect. Bouncing from one restaurant to the next, he’s hard to catch. But Resorts World Bimini is one of few that were able to steal his attention.
Chef Huynh’s story begins in his family’s Vietnamese restaurant in the small town of Pittsfield, Massachusetts. Washing dishes and chopping fish were among his first duties in the kitchen. But subconsciously young Chef Huynh was soaking up lessons only learned from immersion in a real restaurant kitchen – the perfect ingredient to punch up a dish, the subtly in maneuvering cookware, and the mind-numbingly delicious recipe only mom knows how to make - who, by the way, still teaches him a thing or two about the kitchen, “She still yells at me, still teaches me. She knows best.” People would stand in line for up to two hours to feast on the family’s specialties, which explains Chef Huynh’s deep-rooted necessity to be the best and only the best.
By high school, Chef Huynh already made his way to the top, cooking for one of the most prestigious hotels in the nation, the Wheatleigh Hotel in Lenox, Massachusetts. He moved to Puerto Rico on a whim, where he took multiple jobs to help pay for his entrance to the Culinary Institute of America. After graduating, he worked his way through the top kitchens in the country – Lespinasse, Per Se, and the three Michelin starred jewel of Las Vegas, Guy Savoy. Vegas changed the game for him, providing an opportunity only someone as spontaneous as Chef Huynh would take.
Bravo TV’s Top Chef was setting up casting calls just outside Guy Savoy when Chef Huynh was asked if he wanted to try out. Only in its third season at the time, the reality show hadn’t yet gained its standing as one of TV’s most influential cooking shows of the century. But Chef Huynh decided to give it a try, “why not?” He fit in perfectly. Competitive to the core, there couldn’t be a better setting to ignite his passion for the culinary arts. Chef Huynh battled his way to the top, winning the title of Top Chef against a host of the most talented professionals in the entire country.
Claiming the title of Top Chef opened doors around the world. Chef Huynh took his culinary expertise to every corner of the globe, always moving from one restaurant to the next, leaving a lasting taste that couldn’t be forgotten. He eventually became Executive Chef of CATCH, NYC’s world-renowned seafood restaurant, and helped expand it to four more locations worldwide. You’d think with success after success Chef Huynh would find a settling satisfaction, but his impulse to keep searching for the next big opportunity wouldn’t let him rest. “I took a year off to find a new source of inspiration.” And within a year, he finally met his match.
Chef Huynh stumbled upon the opportunity to partner with Resorts World Bimini through an industry colleague, unaware of the resort, let alone the island. But that unfamiliarity is exactly what intrigued him. The resort was entering a reconstructive phase, adding luxurious amenities and accommodations, and along with it, a whole new concept of dining. Chef Huynh was exactly the missing piece to the puzzle, giving the resort the edge of transforming simple cuisine into a culinary adventure.
Your next visit to Bimini just might be defined by the meals you devour at the resort’s newest restaurant, The Sushi Bar. To put it simply, think of it as a sushi bar with a twist. Chef Huynh will oversee the development and design of the venture, adding in his global touch. When asked about the project, Chef Huynh was direct, “most sushi is basic. I want to bring bright, bold flavors to a traditional sushi bar.” Luckily, he left us with a taste of what’s to come – think sushi infused with the flavors of tamarind, honey, balsamic, and sofrito. Chef Huynh harmoniously melds ingredients you’d never imagine together. Don’t be surprised to find fish sauce hidden within the menu, “Fish sauce is the salt of all salts. It’s a seasoning to use on anything. Add it to Italian sauce for pasta.” That’s right. Fish sauce on a traditionally Italian dish. But that should come to no surprise considering Chef Huynh’s philosophy on food; “Cuisines are blended around the world, everything is blended.” He doesn’t have categories to divide Japanese from Italian, Thai from Caribbean. His cuisine is designed to surprise and delight the senses in ways you’d never imagine. Out of every word in the dictionary, the one he chooses to describe his culinary technique is open-minded. It’s the perspective he takes on the art of cooking, and the perspective guests immediately take when they get that first whiff of his dishes.
Take your taste buds on a journey this summer at The Sushi Bar at Resorts World Bimini to experience the world-renowned culinary masterpieces of Top Chef Hung Huynh.