Meet Ly Nguyen of Cooking Off the Cuff
We can't wait to share the story of the amazing mother and Tuk Tuk Box friend behind Cooking Off the Cuff, Ly Nguyen. She helped us make our first-ever meal kit possible and we couldn't be more proud to showcase her and her culinary prowess!
About Ly Nguyen
Ly Nguyen is currently a VP Group Creative Director at MRM leading campaigns, content creation and digital experiences for Cisco and Grubhub. Her first love was always cooking (she actually wanted to be a chef!) and as a second generation Vietnamese American, she taught herself recipes over the last few decades by watching (and eating) food made by all the talented women in her family who brought their rich experiences and culture to America as refugees.
Ly started her cooking blog, Cooking Off the Cuff, because of her daughter. She wanted her to understand their culture through cuisine so replicating tastes from her childhood was important in preserving their family history. Ly lost her mother in 2020, the same year she started documenting recipes, so cooking is a space of remembrance too.
Ly believes cooking should be creative, simple, and flexible and is all about ease in navigation. Traditional meals should be accessible and not intimidating, so she hopes to modernize methods and ingredients for all.
Check out her family's recipe for Vietnamese Egg Rolls (Chả Giò)
What inspired you to become a chef / food biz owner?
Cooking has always been a big part of my family’s refugee story. It’s synonymous with family gatherings, expressions of love and preserving culture. I wanted to document our history for the next generation in homage to our parents who weren’t able to.
Why did you want to highlight the food you are creating?
Vietnamese food is diverse and there are many dishes that are not widely known. Also, with my Grandma being adopted by a French family, there are many recipes that are unique to our story.
What is your favorite dish? Is there a story behind it?
This is a hard one! I’d say my favorites would probably be the ones passed down from my Aunts, Mom and Grandma. They’re sentimental, special, and the evolution of traditional Vietnamese recipes with French/American influence is really apparent. It’s an intergenerational story within itself!
What does courage mean to you?
Staying true to yourself, your values, and knowing your worth regardless of the circumstance
Where can we expect to see you in the next few years?
Hopefully developing a product, service, or continuing my blog to modernize and preserve recipes that are accessible to all!
Thank you so much Ly for sharing her story with us! Tuk Tuk Box is proud to exclusively feature Southeast Asian ingredients and include refugee, migrant, and generational stories in every box.
If you or someone you know wants to share their story with us, send us an email: firstname.lastname@example.org. Stay tuned for future stories and the newest products by subscribing to our mailing list.