About the speaker:
Tien was born to a military family and spent his childhood and early life in Louisiana. He was educated at both the University of Louisiana and Louisiana State University. Growing up, Tien also spent time living in many waterfront destinations around the country such as Seattle, Wash., Hawaii, and Galveston, Texas. He infuses this cultural awareness of regional American ingredients into his cooking style and techniques today. His recipes speak to his past, aspirational future, and current state – a continuous evolution. Tien spent time at Kaz and José Andrés’ Oyamel, before rising to a coveted sous chef position at Momofuku CCDC. During this time Tien says he learned from those who were most impactful and influential on his career, both Chef Jose Andrés and Chef Mark Gears. After nearly a year at Momofuku, Tien began dreaming of opening his own restaurant, a space where he could showcase his culinary vision. Tien opened that space with Himitsu in late 2016, alongside Carlie Steiner, and the unique culinary experience received near immediate acclaim, including earning Eater DC’s “Restaurant of the Year,” accolade in 2017. In 2019, Tien opened Hot Lola’s at the Quarter Market food hall in Arlington, VA, where his Sichuan x Nashville hot chicken sandwiches continue to surprise and satisfy throngs of hungry diners. Tien was Executive Chef at Moon Rabbit, one of Washington, D.C.s top restaurants, before its recent closure. His most recent endeavor is his new hospitality collective, Doki-Doki Group, a partnership with chef Judy Beltrano whom he met working at Momofuku, fellow Louisianan Alan Vo, and ex-Moon Rabbit pastry chef Susan Bae. Furthermore, Tien currently has two new projects in food halls — Doki Doki Sushi, a maki counter at The Heights food hall and Loki Loki BBQ, an Asian-style barbecue in the Bryant Street food hall in Northeast D.C.
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