Sodexo Partners with Mai Pham for Launch of Southeast Asian Concept, Star Ginger
March 02, 2011
Agreement between Sodexo and Mai Pham brings traditional Southeast Asian dishes including noodle bowls, pho, and banh mi to universities and corporate locations via a fast casual setting
GAITHERSBURG, Md., March 2, 2011 – Sodexo, Inc. announced today that it has signed a master retail license agreement with celebrity chef Mai Pham to bring the fresh Southeast Asian flavors of her latest concept, Star Ginger Asian Grill & Noodle Bar to Sodexo operations across the country. The concept, scheduled to debut this fall at Sodexo-managed accounts at universities and colleges as well in its corporate client segment, will be the first stand-alone Southeast Asian retail platform for Sodexo as well as the first of its kind in the U.S. non-commercial foodservice sector.
Chef Pham, a respected national authority on Asian cuisine, created Star Ginger based on the flavors and culinary insights she gathered and crafted while operating restaurants, writing cookbooks, teaching, consulting, and conducting research in Asia over the last 20 years. "Star Ginger is inspired by the street foods that I grew up with in Vietnam and later in Thailand. It's fresh, Asian food-on-the-run—food that doesn't depend on expensive ingredients yet delivers high-impact flavors," said Mai Pham. "The concept represents how we want to eat today—more healthfully, with a bigger focus on quality ingredients and a good measure of culinary adventure. I am so excited to be working with Sodexo to share this amazing family of flavors with a wider, national audience."
The menu will include the best of Chef Pham's newly opened Star Ginger restaurant in Sacramento featuring fast-casual choices, as well as her nationally acclaimed Lemon Grass Restaurant, which has been delighting fine dining customers in Sacramento for more than two decades. Dishes include the Vietnamese beloved pho noodle soup, salad rolls, wok-fried rice noodles including pad Thai, aromatic curries, and Chef Pham's delicious take on Vietnamese toasted banh mi sandwiches.
The core of the Sodexo Star Ginger menu is built around Vietnamese and Thai flavors, with supplemental flavors added over time from other parts of Southeast Asia, Korea, India and beyond. The concept features three menu options to choose from depending on demographic and location; the smallest, "express" menu options range from noodle bowls to Vietnamese sandwiches while the larger, more elaborate menus will also include grilled dishes, salads and rice bowls.
"Consumer data shows that our guests are looking for adventuresome and exotic flavors and bringing the fresh, bright authentic flavors of Star Ginger and Southeast Asia to Sodexo clients fills an important role in our brand portfolio," said John Nappier, vice president of business development for Sodexo's Retail Brand Group. "These on-trend Asian flavors, together with Chef Mai Pham's expertise and ability to inspire others with her passion for the flavors of her native Southeast Asia, create an unbeatable combination to offer our clients." The license agreement grants Sodexo the right to open and operate the Star Ginger concept at its various managed locations for the next 10 years.
About Star Ginger and Mai Pham
Beyond her Sacramento-based restaurants, Chef Mai Pham has authored several cookbooks including Pleasures of the Vietnamese Table, which received a James Beard Award nomination and was named among the best cookbooks of 2001 by The New York Times and the Los Angeles Times; and The Best of Vietnamese and Thai Cooking, which was featured on NPR's Fresh Air and Martha Stewart Living magazine and television show. Her newest book, Flavors of Asia, a collaboration with The Culinary Institute of America, was released in April 2009 and features the best recipes from seven Asian countries. Chef Pham is a frequent speaker and guest chef at national culinary conferences, including those of The Culinary Institute of America where she is a member of the college's Asian Cuisines Advisory Council.
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