Cooking and conversation with up-and-coming culinary star Kimlai Yingling
There is certainly no shortage of foodies in Los Angeles in awe over food trucks, farmers markets, pop-up culinary venues and endless restaurants. But the Asian food scene is perhaps one of the most prevalent. Kimlai Yingling, culinary producer, food blogger, YouTube star, writer and host, is a rising talent in the food world.
With her bubbly personality, funny family anecdotes about her Vietnamese mother and American father, and food fascination, Kimlai’s success is understandable. Always watching her mother cook Vietnamese dishes led her to explore food, cooking and her connection to her Vietnamese roots.
A degree in communications, stint as a singer with her band Kimlai Crazy Country and a job at a Fair Trade Organic Coffee company all came first. However, “EatinAsian,” her food blog, served as the springboard to express herself as a first-generation Vietnamese American. Food is Kimlai’s life, and she—along with her exuberant personality—is getting noticed for her knowledge, skills and recipes.
“Cooking is an art form,” Kimlai explains, adding that using the correct ingredients is essential. “If you are making a Thai dish, you must use Thai fish sauce,” for example. “There’s a right way and a wrong way.” she says.
What she’s doing now
Whether in her former role as a contributing writer for “The Daily Meal” or “Huffington Post,” appearing on eight episodes of the Cooking Channel’s “Food: Fact or Fiction,” cooking on the “Today” show, KTLA’s “Morning Show” or Hallmark Channel’s “Home and Family,” or producing original content for her blog and YouTube channel, Kimlai is constantly experimenting. Lately, she says, her focus is on healthy cooking. She is also focusing on educating her audience on how easy it can be to eat well. “I want to make a bigger impact on the culinary world and become an advocate for healthy eating and healthy food choices.” Her aspirations also include a TED Talk, her own cookbook and owning a commercial kitchen. “I would also like to partner with nonprofits who are fighting hunger and food waste in L.A.” she says.
But if her current actions are any indication, she is already doing her part to give back. A few weeks ago, Kimlai was volunteering at a food event and took all of the food that was to be thrown away and rallied vendors to collect their samples to give to a group of homeless people living outside the space where the event was held.
Keep a lookout, maybe her TED Talk is not that far off.