One of the arbiters of authentic Vietnamese cuisine in our city, chef Steven Nguyen was born to Vietnamese immigrants, and is a first-generation Canadian. Growing up in the suburbs of Toronto, he was surrounded by aunts, uncles and grandparents who loved to cook and instilled in him the spirit of communal Vietnamese dining.
He grew up in his father’s SoHo restaurant, learned quickly in his first job and, while still in his 20s, co-founded Black Sheep Restaurants. Syed Asim Hussain says commitment to innovation, values and community is their key ingredient
“There’s an old Barbadian rhyme ‘one of sour, two of sweet, three of strong, four of weak’, which is a pretty good basic guideline to use. Here, the sour is fresh lime juice, the sweet is Falernum and Orgeat, the strong is subpar rum and the weak is ice and fresh orange juice.”
Black Sheep Restaurants group has more on its plate than usual. Dashing between a new opening in Wan Chai and brand new joint New Punjab Club on Wyndham Street, company co-founder Syed Asim Hussain is a man with quite a few missions – and slightly out of breath.
“With a penchant for being the underdog, and their commitment to pushing boundaries, and setting trends in hospitality and restaurant operations, Christopher Mark and Syed Asim Hussain built their restaurant empire in Soho way before it transformed into the cool, hip hangout spot that it is today. They walk us through the area and compare the days then and now, while also sharing the secrets to their consistent success.”