An Viet House in De Beauvoir could become Asian community’s answer to Jamie Oliver’s training restaurant Fifteen
- Credit: Home of Far East communities
The newly re-launched Far Eastern community centre in De Beauvoir could be turned into an Asian version of Jamie Oliver’s Fifteen, a leading Chinatown restaurateur has revealed.
An Viet House in Englefield Road has been the home for Vietnamese Boat People for the past 35 years, where they can gain qualifications, receive housing support and play ping pong and mah jong.
Former councillor Vu Khanh Thanh helped open the building which had fallen derelict after being built as a public bath in the ’30s.
But now the An Viet Foundation, the Kanlungan Filipino Consortium, and Hackney Chinese Community Services are collaborating with the council to turn the building into a community centre.
To celebrate the start of their union, the three nationalities came together to mark the year of the dog at the weekend, with lion dances and martial arts demonstrations with the mayor of Hackney Phil Glanville in attendance.
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Geoff Leong, whose family set up Chinese restaurants in Chinatown and Mayfair decades ago like Zen and Dumpling Legend, is investigating the possibility of opening up a training restaurant there – along the lines of celebrity chef Jamie Oliver’s Fifteen in Hoxton. Oliver wanted to give young, unemployed people the chance to work in the restaurant business, and 15 years ago he recruited 15 apprentices to train alongside 25 professional chefs.
Leong told the Gazette: “People in the UK all aspire to cook English food like Jamie Oliver or Gordon Ramsay. Everyone loves Asian food and it’s looking how to bridge the gap, and to provide a role model as to how to cook Asian food.
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“Charities should look at ways of maximising their income.”
Leong has put his proposals forward to all the parties involved. “It’s something that’s valid to look at within this space,” he said. “I was surprised Jamie Oliver didn’t open more Fifteens. Engaging people to talk about the food is a powerful way to build cultures together.”