Vietnamese-American Chef Tu David Phu Talks About His Upbringing, His E-Commerce Food Store, and What Community Means to Him

chef Tu David Phu

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On the podcast this week, I have chef Tu David Phu. Tu is a first generation Vietnamese-American, born and raised in Oakland, California. You might know him from season 15 of the Bravo Tv show Top Chef. He’s also a San Francisco Chronicle Rising Star Chef. 

Tu uses the medium of food as a vessel for meaningful work like cooking with incarcerated men in San Quentin, and being a community ambassador in Oakland, working with Asian Health Services and the Oakland Asian Cultural Center.

We discuss his upbringing, and what life was like for his family, coming to the United States after enduring two wars. Tu dealt with food insecurity, struggled with identity, and experienced some confusion around the foods that he ate growing up. We talk about Vietnamese restaurants, how he got into cooking professionally, and touch on his experience on Top Chef.

You can find cooking tutorials on his website, and he’s also started an E-commerce shop called Tumami Spices where you can order kimchi, pho kits, Asian snacks, spice blends and more.


Tu David Phu

Tu’s Instagram 
Tumami Spice’s Instagram 

Tu’s Twitter  

Tu’s Website 

The Tumami Spices Website 

Tu’s YouTube Page 




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Outro music provided by podcast guest Dylan Ubaldo (check out Toyomansi)