Banh Mi Pho Shop- Your New Fave Ramen Spot in the Fort!  🍜
Aug29

Banh Mi Pho Shop- Your New Fave Ramen Spot in the Fort! 🍜

2017 has been my year of ramen. From Momofuku in New York City, some side street vendor in Vietnam that I can’t pronounce, to High Five Ramen in Chicago, I have been obsessed with the noodles of my college days. (And who am I kidding, most of my 20s as well!) And now we have this amazing creation in Fort Wayne at a local business called Banh Mi Pho Shop)! Although the word ramen comes from the Chinese, there is a heated debate as to whether the dish itself originated in Japan or China. Regardless, instant ramen was invented by the Taiwanese-Japanese Momofuku Ando, and was named the greatest Japanese invention of the 20th century. The main component of any ramen is steaming hot noodles served in a rich and salty soup broth, but that is where the similarity between our college dorm hot pot ramen and the ramen of today ends. From the broth, to the spices, to the meat, and toppings ramen is vastly different from shop to shop…but that’s what makes it fun for both chefs and diners alike! Banh Mi Pho Shop is located at the former Tom’s Donuts on 1925 Fairfield Avenue and opened this past June. Don’t let its newness fool you, however. It is the sister location of the popular Vietnamese shop, Banh Mi Barista, which opened August 2012 on 5320 Coldwater Road. The original restaurant started with owners Will Le, his sister Thao Le, and niece Hien Le. Thirty-nine-year-old Will has been working in the food industry since high school (including Fort Wayne’s beloved West Coast Grill) and loves to cook. While 30-year-old Thao worked at a pharmaceutical lab in Indy, she always had a love for food and eating out as did her foodie niece, Hien. The original Banh Mi Barista is well known for its phenomenal customer service, amazing bubble teas, and Vietnamese staples such as pho and bánh mì sandwiches. One year ago, Thao took a break to travel. While she grew up in Fort Wayne, she wanted to experience the culinary trends and staples in various parts of the world, including her homeland of Vietnam. Co-owner Hien joined her for a month in Vietnam (as did yours truly for a much shorter stint!). I sat with Thao to ask about her experience in Vietnam this past April. “I was born in Vietnam and still have family in southern Vietnam,” said Thao. “I have always appreciated the unique flavors and textures, but this trip made me expand my taste buds to appreciate northern Vietnamese food as well. I also learned how to make bánh mì (bread) from scratch when I...

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Hetty Arts Pastry – Fort Wayne’s latest Food Truck
Nov29

Hetty Arts Pastry – Fort Wayne’s latest Food Truck

Fort Wayne is home to some amazing food on wheels. From gourmet hot dogs and crab Rangoon pizza to pho, you can pretty much get it all….now including from scratch apple fritters, doughnuts and a variety of pastries. Behold the newest addition to Fort Wayne’s food truck fleet – Hetty Arts Pastry Truck!   Hetty Arts, owner and pastry chef extraordinaire, is no stranger to the art of pastry making. (Sorry, I couldn’t resist. With a name like that, it’s so easy!) She grew up on a dairy farm in Holland and at the age of 13 her family moved to Convoy, Ohio. Initially Hetty attended Ohio State as an interior design major. Growing up in a family of entrepreneurs (her parents and brothers are dairy farmers and her sister is a florist), it was no surprise that Hetty wanted to make her own way in the world. Her mother recommended baking as an alternative path when she felt that interior design wasn’t her cup of tea. I assumed she was a natural born baker and Hetty gave me a look. “I was terrible at baking,” she laughed. “My sister will be the first to tell you. She was actually the baker when we were kids! She would tell me what to do and she never lets me forget about the time I was supposed to help her whip cream and I ended up over whipping it and turned it into butter. So no, I wouldn’t say I had any natural talent initially!” When looking for a program at Midwest Culinary Institute in Cincinnati, OH, Hetty was immediately drawn to the sparkling pastry kitchens. “They were so beautiful,” she remarks. “And it just came so easy for me. It was like I was meant to do it!” When I asked her if she was ever interested in other forms of cooking (considering the butter incident) she noted, “when you are a savory chef you have to wear 17 hats. As a pastry chef you only need to wear like 7 hats. Much more manageable!” Graduating at the top of her class with a degree in baking and pastry arts, she immediately landed a job at Joseph Decuis, which at that time was a very modern farm to fork concept that was relatively new to Fort Wayne.     While visiting a friend in NYC she found out that there was an opening at Eleven Madison Park and was given the opportunity to work with the pastry chef as a stagiare, which is a form of unpaid internship in the cooking world. “I highly recommend anyone interested in the craft to...

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