Thach Tran is the executive chef at Stella’s on 16th, a marketplace restaurant that opened downtown in January. This is his account of the journey that led him to this point, a tale that starts at a pho restaurant in Vietnam, detours through an obsession with hand-pulled noodles, stops at a lucky stint helping co-owner Toshi Kizaki wash and scale fish at Sushi Den, and includes a disastrous episode at the James Beard House.

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