Born in Vietnam and raised in Virginia outside of Washington D.C., Chef Thai Dang grew up celebrating the authentic flavors and recipes his mother and sisters brought from home. His passion for the culinary world and values in family stem from the kitchen table as a boy where he learned to build bonds, relationships, and connect or communicate thru food.
Thai is classically trained as a French chef graduating from L’Academie de Cuisine in Maryland, and honed his craft and culinary skills thru spent time in kitchens such as the once award winning CityZen, a Triple A – Four Diamond restaurant at the Mandarin Oriental Hotel in Washington D.C. as well as in 2009 with the 3-michelin celebrated chef Laurent Gras of L2o in Chicago. Then in 2011, as Chef de Cuisine of RIA in the Elysian Hotel, Thai helped guide the team to achieve 2 michelin stars by focusing on fresh flavors coupled with his contemporary approach to technique and presentation.
These years of training helped prepare Thai for his culinary future. It was here in Chicago in 2012, at the age of 27, where he created his platform as the culinary pioneer and co-owner of Embeya, Thai’s first restaurant. Em Be´(phonetically said Embeya) is the Vietnamese translation for ‘youngest brother” or “little one” a nickname fondly given by his family as a child. He defines and reinvents flavors and textures found in Southeast Asia with refined French techniques to create an original approach and palate to what he terms Progressive Asian cuisine.
Dang is decorated with awards from Chicago’s own Jean Banchet as “Rising Chef of the Year” in 2013. He was nominated 2 consecutive years in Food and Wine People’s Choice, “Chef of the Year” 2013, 2014 and Zagat has recognized him on the “30 under 30” list in 2013.
Dang worked closely with chef Gras to create the menu’s seasonal, labor-intensive dishes and in 2010, helped the restaurant earn three Michelin stars. Cooking at this caliber demanded discipline and attention to detail with some of the finest ingredients the world has to offer.
Chef Thai is now teaming up with wife, Danielle Dang, to bring a true taste of Vietnam with their Vietnamese Kitchen HaiSous. HaiSous is translated from Vietnamese and means, 2 Sous or 2 Pennies. 2 Sous suggests equality in partnership, and shared visions in hospitality while 2 Pennies will forever remind the couple of their humble beginnings that started with a dream and 2 pennies. Expect unique bold flavors that translate into an authentic and elevated experience of Vietnamese cuisine.