Chef Tom – Food Fusion and The Silk Road Ensemble

Not to be confused with CON-fusion. Some ultra-PC folks wax expert about cultural appropriation. Well, the one place where that construct has no business being, is in the kitchen. Every dish you cook has had multiple influences from multiple cultures. Even if I were relegated to only cooking white boy food from Northern California (eeew), there would be zero recipes that I could cook that hadn’t originated from someplace OTHER than my own neighborhood. Even my own neighborhood evolved from countless cultures other than my own.

Fusion is the result of natural evolution, IMHO. The world is one big magical soup. The parable of Stone Soup makes my point. Without the generous influence from the other cultures around us, life would be unbearably dull. 

Banh Mi Dip

Case in point. A classic French Dip sandwich (delicious beef sandwich dipped in beef broth) but made with Vietnamese ingredients. The sandwich is a Banh Mi. The dipping broth is a Vietnamese soup broth called Pho (pronounced FUH, btw, not FOH). Brilliant!

This will take some time and some assembly, but once you’ve done it, I guarantee you will do it again. You could cheat. Order some Pho from your local Vietnamese resto, and a Banh Mi, and save the soup noodles and fixin’s for something else.

I will be having one of these for lunch on Sunday at new place called Lily in SF. Can’t wait.

Banh Mi Pho Dip

Makes 8 sandwiches

Chef Qui Tran of Nudo House in St. Louis takes the French dip to Vietnam, first building an outstanding flank steak banh mi with all the trimmings then dipping the sandwich in a full-bodied beef pho broth. 


8 cups Master Pho Broth (see Note)

1/2 cup very thinly sliced red onion

1/4 cup chopped fresh cilantro

1/4 cup sliced scallions

2 baguettes, each cut into fourths

1 cup Chicken Liver Pâté (see Note)

3/4 cup mayonnaise

8 teaspoons hoisin sauce

4 cups thinly sliced Flank Steak (see Note)

2 cups Pickled Carrots (see Note)

1 cucumber, cut into 8 spears

1 large jalapeño, stemmed, seeded, and julienned (1/2 cup)

1 bunch cilantro sprigs


Bring Pho Broth to a simmer. Add onion, chopped cilantro, and scallions.

Cut each piece of bread in half horizontally, keeping one edge attached.

Spread one cut side of each piece of bread with 2 tablespoons Chicken Liver Pâté and the other cut side with 1 1/2 tablespoons mayonnaise and 1 teaspoon hoisin.

Divide the sliced Flank Steak among sandwiches and top each with 1/4 cup Pickled Carrots, 1 cucumber spear, 1 tablespoon julienned jalapeño, and a few cilantro sprigs.

Serve each with hot Pho Broth for dipping.

1. Master Pho Broth and Flank Steak

2. Chicken Liver Pâté

3. Pickled Carrots

On That Note

You’ve probably guesses I love World Music the most. This group was an amazing find, in that they embody the principle of when we come together with all of our differences we make for a much better experience for everyone.

The Silkroad Ensemble

Silkroad Ensemble

From their website:
Founded by cellist Yo-Yo Ma in 2000 and now under the artistic direction of Rhiannon Giddens, the Grammy award-winning Silkroad Ensemble has been at the core of Silkroad’s work to advance global understanding, deepen learning, and promote cross-cultural collaboration.

These artists represent dozens of nationalities and artistic traditions, from Spain and Japan to Syria and the United States, and draw on a rich tapestry of traditions from around the world to create a new musical language that weaves together the foreign and the familiar.

The Ensemble appears in many configurations and settings, from intimate groups of two and three in museum galleries to rousing complements of eighteen in concert halls, public squares, and amphitheaters.

Silkroad Ensemble performs throughout the world and has recorded eight albums. Sing Me Home, which won the 2016 Grammy for Best World Music Album was developed and recorded alongside the documentary feature The Music of Strangers, from Oscar-winning director Morgan Neville.

Silkroad’s music is contemporary and ancient, familiar and foreign, traditional and innovative, drawing on styles from around the world to create a new musical language that reflects 21st-century society. When we create music together, we listen to our differences, connecting and creating meaning from them.

The Silkroad Ensemble: Arabian Waltz – SILKROAD

How many instruments can you name?

  • Shakuhachi flute and Pipa from Japan
  • Palmas (syncopated clapping) and Cajon (hand drum) from Flamenco
  • Bamboo Sheng from China
  • Bagpipes playing the Arabic scale
  • Tabla from India
  • Doumbek (goblet) drum from Egypt
  • Violin, cello, bass
  • Kamancheh from Iran
  • Do I hear some Klezmer?

The Silkroad Ensemble: Ascending Bird | SILKROAD

Khabiel – Harvard, March 2017 – SILKROAD


The essence of Silkroad

Silkroad; Wu Man – Finding a Balance


Chef Tom is currently transitioning from Personal Chef to Private Chef. He also teaches cooking classes, caters small parties and leads overseas culinary tours. His specialty for the last twelve years has been cooking for people with food allergies and sensitivities. His motto is “Food should give you pleasure, not pressure.”

Check him out at

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