Wendy is a housemate emeritus. She is one of the earliest residents, and cooks, of Normandie — as well as a legume geneticist, and amateur photographer. Born in Hong Kong, to a mother boating across the world from Hanoi, Vietnam; raised in the multi-ethnic ferment of pre-tech San Francisco; Wendy approaches food, and life, with a hip-hop sensibility and energy. Minus the metaphorical baggy pants and drank. You know, high-concept, remixes, and philosophical musings about death, and social justice. With a nod to Tupac. That kind of hip-hop.
Okay, I’ve totally gotten lost in this metaphor by now. Never mind.
Raised cooking traditional Vietnamese, in a neighbourhood full of Hmong and Latin immigrants, Wendy’s favourite recipes are often classic Southeast Asian. Egg rolls, and dumplings, noodles and salads; larb, rice paper rolls and pho — all perfect. Braised pork-belly in caramel sauce — the stuff of dreams. And she’s prone to spin these classics in new combinations — for instance as tacos, burritos, or sandwiches.
But Wendy’s most, er, distinctive likes are the “forgotten bits”. Tripe, feet, pork blood. Gizzard and tongue. Cooking with these parts of the animal is rewarding, and delicious. And in LA, combining off-cuts with Latin, Southeast Asian, and Chinese influences is just a natural way to cook.