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March 25, 2021 @ 7:00 pm

Mango and Peppercorns: An Evening with Kathy Manning, Tung Nguyen, Lyn Nguyen and Chef Michelle Bernstein


March 25, 2021
7:00 pm

Books & Books and Miami Book Fair present…

An Evening with Kathy Manning, Tung Nguyen and Lyn Nguyen

In conversation with Chef Michelle Bernstein

Mango and Peppercorns: A Memoir of Food, an Unlikely Family, and the American Dream

(Chronicle, $24.95)

Thursday, March 25, 7pm EST

LIVE via Crowdcast



A powerful memoir of resilience, friendship, family, and food from the acclaimed chefs behind the award-winning Hy Vong Vietnamese restaurant in Miami.

Through powerful narrative, archival imagery, and 20 Vietnamese recipes that mirror their story, Mango & Peppercorns is a unique contribution to culinary literature.

In 1975, after narrowly escaping the fall of Saigon, pregnant refugee and gifted cook Tung Nguyen ended up in the Miami home of Kathy Manning, a graduate student and waitress who was taking in displaced Vietnamese refugees. This serendipitous meeting evolved into a decades-long partnership, one that eventually turned strangers into family and a tiny, no-frills eatery into one of the most lauded restaurants in the country.

Tung’s fierce practicality often clashed with Kathy’s free-spirited nature, but over time, they found a harmony in their contrasts—a harmony embodied in the restaurant’s signature mango and peppercorns sauce.



About the Authors:


Kathy is a native of the American Midwest.  She and Tung own Hy Vong Restaurant. She resettled Vietnamese refugees in 1975 supported by Lutheran World Relief.  Kathy holds a degree in sociology from Barry University, and a degree in Mathematics from the University of Miami.  Kathy was a math teacher for three years but found greater purpose in celebrating Tung Nguyen’s food, running Hy Vong Restaurant and learning from people of different backgrounds.  She has travelled to Vietnam on five occasions. In 1994 she was the first American that the Vietnamese government allowed to stay within the countryside in Dien Ban, Quang Nam Vietnam (Tung’s home province).


Tung’s grandmother taught her how to cook from childhood.  In her twenties, she took her skills from the country to the city and made and sold street food in Saigon.  At the fall of Saigon In 1975, recognizing that her life was in danger, Tung jumped onto a refugee boat bound for America.  Tung didn’t speak English, arrived with nothing, and was soon to realize that she was pregnant.  Before her long trip from Vietnam to the US, she had never been anywhere where her feet could not carry her. Upon arrival in the US, Tung met Kathy and four years later they opened Hy Vong restaurant in Miami, which won many awards for its authentic Vietnamese food.


Phuong Lien (Lyn) was born in Miami not long after her mother, a refugee from Vietnam, arrived in the US.  Lyn grew up helping in Hy Vong Restaurant, until she left home for college. Lyn holds a Bachelor of Science from Harvard University and an MBA from Cornell University. She is currently the CEO of Liquid Analytics.


About the Moderator:

Chef Michelle Bernstein, James Beard Award winner, Best Chef South 2008, and cookbook author of Cuisine a Latina is a Miami native of Jewish and Latin descent. Bernstein cooks food inspired by her culinary memories and travels. With her husband and partner, David Martinez, the chef owns/operates MBC Michelle Bernstein Catering Company, Sweet Liberty, along with their newest endeavor, Café La Trova, a Cuban-inspired bar and café in Little Havana. Bernstein also hosts two Emmy award-winning TV series, Check, Please! South Florida and SoFlo Taste. In addition, Bernstein began the Florida chapter of Common Threads and sits on their board.