Hung Hunyh was one of those rare Top Chef phenomenons who was incredibly talented and likable at the same time. You know what we mean; many times the chefs that win each and every quick fire, dabble in foam and sprint intensely about the kitchen are not always the fan favorite. Hunyh, on the other hand, is the Vietnamese-American born Season 3 champion that managed to consistently master the wow factor and appeal to all audiences.
After training at his parents’ Vietnamese restaurant, Hunyh went on to study at the Culinary Institute of America. Already executive sous chef at Guy Savoy Las Vegas during Top Chef’s airing, Hunyh proved Top Chef is much like American Idol – you know right away which competitors will get a “record deal,” with or without the championship title. He now reigns over Catch, the globally influenced seafood restaurant that Hunyh – known for using Spanish, French and Asian influences in his cooking – expectedly thrives in. With entrees like Sourdough Crusted Halibut Cioppino and Cantonese Style Lobster, Catch’s menu is both warm and inventive, representing what Hunyh is all about. We were proud to sit down with this chef to be reckoned with, who never ceases to surprise us.
What’s different about your food?
At Catch I put my personal twist and unique personality into foods that you think you may already understand. I may take something classic and turn it into something unique and flavorful.
Are you constantly making changes? How so?
Developing new dishes and maintaining the consistency of our current menu are ideas that we pursue every day. We are constantly updating our recipes and conducting tastings with the owners in order to evolve the menu.
What we all should know about Vietnamese cuisine…
Vietnamese cuisine is not just Pho and Banh Mi sandwiches – that’s our fast food. Each region has its own distinct flavors and preparations.
What’s special about Catch?
At Catch, we take seafood to the next level. We serve the highest quality food in a relaxed atmosphere.
What experience do you want your customers to walk away with?
I expect every guest to leave feeling as if all of their expectations have been met and surpassed.
Can you share some menu favorites from Catch?
Crispy Rice Cakes with Tuna, Crispy Shrimp, Whole Snapper with Chili Garlic Sauce, and Cantonese Style Lobster.
If you’re going to eat in New York besides at your own restaurant, where do you go? What do you eat?
I go to Chinatown because I can eat lots of seafood and rice.
What are your other favorite cities to travel for food? What spots do you go to there?
Saigon (Ho Chi Minh City), Hong Kong – I prefer local spots that specialize in one dish.
Where do you go for inspiration?
Inspiration comes to me at random times. It can hit me while I’m walking down the street. I find that Barnes and Nobles is a great place to find inspiration while reading through cook books.
Where would you like to travel for inspiration that you haven’t been to yet?
I want to go to Turkey or Brazil.