Navigating the Restaurant Industry: Charles Phan

Charles Phan, Chef & Owner, The Slanted Door, James Beard Award Winner, First Republic Client

September 30, 2014

As a young boy, Charles Phan and his family fled North Vietnam by sea to Singapore, eventually finding their way to San Francisco. With a vision to blend Vietnamese cooking techniques with local ingredients, they opened their first restaurant in 1995. Woven into the food and dining experience of The Slanted Door is the Phan family's desire to pleasantly surprise their clientele. Similarly, it was First Republic's commitment to unexpected client service that attracted the Phans to the Bank and has kept them as valued clients for more than 10 years.

1. WHAT ACCOMPLISHMENTS ARE YOU MOST PROUD OF?

Winning the James Beard award for Outstanding Restaurant in 2014.

2. WHAT ADVICE WOULD YOU GIVE TO SOMEONE WITH A FEW YEARS EXPERIENCE AS A CHEF WHO IS LOOKING TO TAKE THEIR CAREER TO THE NEXT LEVEL?

Keep your eyes on the end goals. Don’t let the small stuff or your fears slow you down.

3. WHO HAS BEEN A ROLE MODEL TO YOU IN YOUR LIFE/CAREER AND WHY?

My father is my role model. He took life on with full confidence. He took on different lines of work, even when he had little knowledge of them. Lastly, he took life calmly and with determination. I never saw him raise his voice with me or with his work.

4. IF YOU COULD IMPROVE ONE THING ABOUT THE RESTAURANT INDUSTRY, WHAT WOULD IT BE?

Pay the back of the house (kitchen people) more.

5. WHAT’S THE MOST ESSENTIAL SKILL YOU HAVE THAT HAS CONTRIBUTED TO YOUR SUCCESS?

I am not afraid to try.

7. IF YOU WEREN’T A CHEF WHAT WOULD YOU BE?

A potter.

8. WHAT’S YOUR FAVORITE BOOK?

The Slanted Door Cookbook!

9. YOUR FAVORITE QUOTE?

You can’t fool the tongue.

The views of the authors of these articles do not necessarily represent the views of First Republic Bank.