Any conversation about the finest sushi restaurants in town will inevitably turn to the innovative cuts at Chau Trinh's Sushi Pop. The talented itamae has carved out a niche in Oviedo with his spirited, anime-themed eatery, and will soon slice out his share of Winter Park at his outpost opening there later this summer. But growth, Trinh says, needn't be a threat to innovation: "As a chef, I've always struggled with what I want to serve versus what people will buy, so when I encounter a creative block, I'll go and stage at restaurants."
He's completed short stints at Eric Ripert's Le Bernardin and under executive chef Ronny Emborg at Atera in New York City, which he says he finds motivating. "It helps reaffirm who I am as a chef, cures any form of food stagnancy, and gives me ideas and techniques to help fuel Sushi Pop's progression." It also helps to have his mom working the line and keeping him in check. "She keeps an eye on everyone – she's the real boss!" he says, and for someone who wasn't classically trained, finding insight and inspiration from the women in his life was essential.
"My grandmother was an amazing cook. She cooked with great balance and it's woven into the backbone of my cooking now. Mom is a great cook, too, and we're currently collaborating on recipes for ChauHaus," Trinh says, referencing the special lunch pop-up Trinh will debut at the Winter Park location.
"I can't wait for everyone to try her cooking – her pho is definitely last-meal worthy," Trinh avows. Neither can we, though we're hoping that first bite isn't our last.