Writing & Photographs
I took a few images the other week to accompany a story on street kid restaurants in Southeast Asia, but I guess in the end the paper decided to cut down the writing and run it without pictures. So it goes. The original piece by writer Mike Ives can be viewed HERE. The photographs above are from Koto Restaurant in Hanoi, a model for the types of establishments the writer is talking about. And for the blog, an excerpt:
The KOTO story began in 1996, when a tour guide named Jimmy Pham moved from Australia to Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam. Pham, a Vietnamese Korean who grew up in a working-class, single-parent household, saw street kids selling coconuts near the Saigon Opera House. He bought them noodles and listened to their stories. A week later, the 24-year-old was renting them an apartment.
For the next 3 1/2 years, Pham supported street kids in Vietnam and Cambodia by subsidizing their rent, clothes, medicine and books. Handouts helped the kids survive, Pham says, but it wasn’t enough. In 1999, to help them find steady employment, he opened a sandwich shop near the Hanoi Railway Station, where street children were earning money by shining shoes and selling postcards.
Pham had worked in his mom’s butcher shop as a kid, but he didn’t have any formal culinary training. So in his sandwich shop, he showed his chefs food photos from Woman’s Day magazine. “They made terrible milkshakes and bland sandwiches,” Pham recalls with a laugh. “But there was a sense of ownership.”
The following summer, KOTO moved to an 80-seat space overlooking Hanoi’s Temple of Literature. Pham’s brother donated money for tables. Andreas Pohl, an Australian working in Hanoi for AusAID, helped Pham apply for embassy grants. Pohl’s wife, Tracey Lister, a professional chef from Melbourne, volunteered to train Pham’s staff and design a cafe-style menu. By November, KOTO kid-chefs were cooking lunch for then-President Clinton. (He ordered a grilled veggie, hummus and pesto sandwich, a mango lassie and a latte.)