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Tu David Phu

Profession/Title:
Chef

Where You’re From:
Oakland, Ca

1). How did you figure out that this ‘work’ was your calling?

My parents both have PTSD from the Vietnam-American War. And used silence as a coping mechanism. And it was in the kitchen that I’ve been able to connect with parents. It’s in these moments where I’ve found my fondest family memories. It is my goal to help all people experience fond memories through food.

2). What/who empowered you to chase this dream for yourself?

Self made is bullshit. It’s my community that ‘lit my flame.’

My parents (amazing as they are) were only able to give me so much support. Mainly because they worked so much and so hard. It was their efforts, combined with key figures (employers that became mentors, teachers, and sports coaches) that embolden me to dream and pursue them.

3). Was there ever a time you were ready to give up on your dream? What made you keep going?

I’ve considered (many times) giving up. But started to understand that dreams become goals the moment you plan them out. It’s thanks to Authors like Paul Cohelo & Malcolm Gladwell that helped rewired my brain. And it was artists like Tupac Shakur that made me feel like the achievable was possible for a kid from Oakland. (Tupac spent a lot of time in Oakland). 

See their quotes below:

“They were poor and living in the farthest corners of the Bronx. How did they afford tickets? “Mary got a quarter,” Friedman says. “There was a Mary who was a ticket taker, and if you gave Mary a quarter, she would let you stand in the second balcony, without a ticket.” … and what you learn in that world is that through your own powers of persuasion and initiative, you can take your kids to Carnegie Hall. There is no better lesson for a budding lawyer than that. The garment industry was boot camp for the professionals.”

-Malcolm Gladwell, Outliers: The Story of Success

 “I will study any man (black or white) until he is great to me no more.”

-Tupac.

4). What’s the best advice you’ve ever received? (or the worst, and why?)

“Shut up and listen. You might just learn something.”

5). What impact would you like your work to leave on the world?

Inspire others to be more compassionate towards each other.

7). You are happiest when ______

Cooking and eating with my fiancé.

8). Favorite quote?

“There is only one thing that makes a dream impossible to achieve: the fear of failure.”

Paul Cohelo, Alchemist

9). If you had a song playing over you as your personal theme song, what would it be?

 I have nothing-Whitney Houston. Duh. The greatest song of all time. =)

BONUS QUESTIONS:

What life event have you lived through that would make a great movie?

My 3 years spent as a volunteer in San Quentin Prison

What has been some funny advice someone has given you?

Me: “Dad I broke my leg!” 

Dad: “ Put salt on it. You’ll be fine.”

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