5 MINUTES WITH :: Vinh Of Ms Pho Canteen At The Mill

 

Man, we love our Pho Friday’s here in The Fold office. Just before 12, someone will pop their head up from behind a computer screen and be all like, “I’m hungry…. who wants pho?” At this point, discussion ensues about what flavour, how gooooooood pho is, money exchanges hands and a willing volunteer heads up to Ms Pho Canteen at The Mill in Bowral to get the order.

Our addiction to pho has come in handy because we’ve got to know Vinh, the man behind Ms Pho. Through our weekly chit chat, we’ve discovered that Vinh does a whole lot of humanitarian work too.

We spent 5 minutes with Vinh (while we waited for our pho one Friday) and asked him to share his story with you guys too.

Be sure to pop in and say hi to him at The Mill Thursdays to Sundays. We wouldn’t want you to get FOMOPHO! Get it?

 

portrait of vinh

 

Tell us about your amazing pho recipe.

My family ran a famous restaurant in Bondi called Indochine Vietnamese Restaurant for ten years. Brendan Fraser and Michael Caine were some of the celebrities that ate there. The restaurant closed when Mum retired but she wanted the pho recipe to carry on, so she shared the recipe with myself, my wife and her friend.

It’s a very old Vietnamese recipe. It came from my great-grandfather who cooked for the French back when Vietnam was under French rule, and it’s been passed down through the family since then.

 

ms pho

 

We are loving your Jeeps! Tell us about them.  

I was born in Vietnam in 1971 during the Vietnam War and I have seen firsthand the impact the war and Agent Orange has had on the people. I live in Australia now but on one of my trips back to Vietnam, I bought a US military jeep. I got approval from Vietnam authorities to preserve this historic vehicle in Australia for two purposes. To pay respect to the Australian Army. The Vietnamese have high respect for the Aussies, so I use the jeep at military parades and marches in Sydney.

The second purpose was to help humanity in some way. When I first got the jeep, I parked it next to Sydney Harbour and asked for donations to help the Vietnamese people. A wedding car company saw me and asked me to add the jeep to their fleet and the money I earned from hiring the jeep out would go directly to my fundraising. That’s how it started. I’ve added to the fleet now and all funds raised go to Artists for Orphans (via Rotary), founded by Australian Roni Wildeboer, the wife of an Australian Vietnam Veteran.

 

vihn on the harbour

 

How has the money raised by the Jeep helped your people?

We just finished a $27,000 project at an orphanage in Central Vietnam. There is a very old temple with monks who rescue disabled children and take them back to the temple to cook for them, feed them and give them a second chance. The kitchen was outside in the heat, so we built a new kitchen for them.

I have travelled back to Vietnam a lot – 42 trips! I go from village to village and talk to people and see what they need. I went to a centre in the Mekong Delta where 375 elderly, disadvantaged and disabled people lived. It was so hot and all they had was a roof and a concrete floor. It shocked me so much. I saw they needed basic living requirements like water that is safe to drink, basic medication and fans. I did a feasibility study, worked out what we needed, and we got it happening through Rotary.

 

Vinh In Car

 

So how did you end up in Bowral?

I met Jane from Me Jane CAMP OUT on a fashion shoot in Camden where my jeep was being used. We chatted about my fundraising and Jane told me about The Mill in Bowral. I brought my jeep here to The Mill then saw an opportunity to carry on the family pho recipe so opened up Ms Pho Canteen.

I used to be in finance and property development. I have a finance degree from UTS, but I don’t like that side of things. After I lost everything in the global financial crisis of 2007, I was so unhappy. I went back to Vietnam and got some real perspective. They were doing it much tougher than me.

Things happen to you for a reason. I’m happy that I’m here now.

The locals here love our recipe and enjoy eating our food. We are a family owned business trying to help people who need our support.

We look after customers like they are family. That’s probably why they keep coming back.


 

We agree Vinh! Oh, and the ridiculously delicious pho also helps.

Check out Vinh’s military vehicles at https://www.facebook.com/Sydney.Jeep/  and The Ms Pho Canteen Food Trailer will be at Bong Bong Races on Friday 23 November.

 

 

 

penny bio

 

 

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