A Special Honor for the Chef Who Helped Popularize Vietnamese Cuisine in California

Helene An opened her first Crustacean restaurant in San Francisco in 1991.

When her restaurant Crustacean opened in Beverly Hills in 1997, chef Helene An brought a fresh take on Vietnamese cuisine to a new and enthusiastic audience. According to Food & Wine, An, a refugee who arrived in San Francisco in 1975, recently received a well-deserved Pioneer Award in Culinary Arts from the Smithsonian Asian Pacific American Center. 

In her acceptance speech, An revealed how her Vietnamese heritage inspired her career trajectory. “When I created the Secret Kitchen, it was to protect the little I had, my recipes, so one day when my daughters had an education they could do something with it,” continued An. “It was not until I opened Crustacean Beverly Hills that I realized my food was not just a labor of love for my children, but also a voice for my people and the many Asian American immigrants in this country. I hope that every young and aspiring chef continues to tell their story and heritage with their cuisine. On behalf of immigrants in this country and the amazing patrons who have supported my family and me, I accept this award with so much gratitude.”

After a six-month renovation in 2018, Crustacean in Beverly Hills is back and more delicious than ever. 

You can read more about An and her California food legacy here.

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