Getting a step ahead
The 27 year old is the popular restaurant’s head chef, a position he would never have dreamed of before joining Step Ahead. Step Ahead is a World Vision-funded project, run by a non-profit organisation called the Blue Dragon Children’s Foundation. It aims to give street kids a brighter future, by providing shelter, meals and training in English and IT. Step Ahead also offers routes into secure employment, with a range of vocational training opportunities.
“I chose to study cookery,” says Nam. “I wanted to learn how to make delicious food to please others.”
With his passion for cooking, Nam's skills improved swiftly. Then he got the chance to appear on a TV talent show, Iron Chef Vietnam, which opened the door to his future career.
“I’ve worked hard every day for three reasons,” he says. “First, for my family, who used to be very poor. Second, I didn’t want to disappoint the people who’ve helped me. And third, for a better life for myself.”
The chef and his wife have recently had a baby boy named Phuc An. “His names mean happiness and peace,” the proud father explains. “Peace is essential for my family and me. My parents split up when I was a child, so I don’t want my son to experience that.”
Remembering his former life, Nam supports street children by preparing meals for them and teaching them culinary skills through the Step Ahead project that once helped him.
“I hope other street kids will find good jobs like me,” he says. “I’m not ashamed of my past and I want to write a book about my life in the future.”