Phuong Hoang Bui

Update: 6/14/2019Macrina’s Head Baker, Phuong Hoang Bui, started working at Macrina in 1994. To celebrate his 25th anniversary we gathered with him and his family at Palisade Restaurant to share our gratitude for everything he has done for Macrina and the way he brightens the workplace with smiles and his cheerful heart.

“The best part of the heartwarming dinner was Phuong sharing his fond memories of Macrina,” says Jane Cho, Production Manager. “Behind his kind, respectful mannerisms, he is a comedian and loves to laugh and tell a good story. I am grateful to have had the opportunity to work with Phuong for so many years and to be inspired by someone with such integrity in everything he does.”
To learn more about Phuong’s amazing journey from Vietnam to Macrina read this blog that Leslie wrote about Phuong.

Original: 10/14/2012

Throughout my new book, More from Macrina, interspersed among the recipes and beautiful photography, are stories about the people and partnerships that make the Macrina community.

Phuong Hoang Bui has worked at Macrina for 18 years and as much as anyone, he embodies the spirit of the Macrina community in a way that makes me so proud to have him as a colleague.  I first met Phuong through the International Rescue Committee, where he had been eagerly seeking employment.  At our first meeting, Phuong conveyed a deep desire to work and to learn – I hired him as a dishwasher on the spot. This was in 1994 – just after Macrina first opened.

Phuong

While he worked as a dishwasher, Phuong would always make himself available to help with food prep, to help shape bread, and to watch the bakers load the ovens – constantly seeking opportunities to learn more so that he could grow professionally while supporting Macrina’s growth.

18 years later Phuong manages our entire wholesale production team – fifty employees in all, diverse in age, ethnicity and experience – and Phuong takes great care to help them all develop the skills to succeed in their work, and for many of them, to adapt to a new life in Seattle.

Before starting at Macrina, Phuong had been trying to get to America from his native Vietnam for some time.  His first attempt was as a boat refugee when he was captured and imprisoned for two years.  When he was released Phuong received help and support from friends and family, which led to his arrival and new life in the United States.

Today, everything Phuong does through his work at Macrina demonstrates his gratitude for the help and support he has received. Phuong works with his team to help them develop professionally and embrace new opportunities, just as he did (and continues to do).  Phuong’s desire to repay the kindness he was shown when he first arrived here reflects so much of the culture here at Macrina, and just as Phuong is grateful for the life he has here, I am grateful for the chance to have him be a part of our daily life at Macrina.

Learn more about Phuong and his amazing journey in More from Macrina. 

June Recipe of the Month: Ricotta Panna Cotta with Local Strawberries

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This recipe is in honor of Gina DePalma, the acclaimed pastry chef from Babbo restaurant in NYC. Her book, Dolce Italiano: Desserts from the Babbo Kitchen, inspires a reverence for simple recipes. Too often chefs over complicate dishes to make them more worthy. Sometimes less is more, a philosophy central to much of Italian cuisine. This recipe embraces straightforward preparations and quality ingredients. Good cream will really stand out, for panna cotta is one of the world’s most delightful versions of cooked cream. Sweet Washington strawberries and a Macrina Walnut Anise Wafer are perfect complements to this eggless custard.

Ingredients

Makes 6 servings

RICOTTA PANNA COTTA

1 cup whole milk ricotta

1 cup whole milk, divided

1-1/2 cups heavy cream

1/2 cup + 2 tablespoons granulated sugar

1 vanilla bean

1 packet powdered gelatin (1/4 oz)

STRAWBERRY TOPPING AND ASSEMBLY

10 strawberries

2 tablespoons granulated sugar

1/4 teaspoon sherry vinegar

1/2 teaspoon fresh oregano, chopped

1 package of Macrina’s Walnut Anise Wafers

Directions

Place the ricotta and 1/2 cup of the milk in a medium bowl and whisk to dissolve the lumps. Add the sugar, gelatin and heavy cream to a medium saucepan. Cut vanilla bean lengthwise, and scrape the seeds out with a paring knife. Add the seeds and bean to the heavy cream. While whisking constantly, warm mixture just to the boiling point, then turn off the heat. Gradually pour the heavy cream mixture into the ricotta mixture and whisk to combine well. Remove the vanilla bean and strain the mixture through a fine cheesecloth or mesh strainer. Add the remaining 1/2 cup of milk and mix to combine. Divide the mixture between 6 sorbet glasses or stemless wine glasses. Place in the refrigerator for 4 hours to set.

Finely dice 9 of the strawberries and place in a medium bowl. Cover with the sugar and sprinkle in the sherry vinegar. Mix well and let sit for 1 hour before serving. Thinly slice the remaining strawberry into 6 rounds. Top each panna cotta with a strawberry round, a spoonful of sweetened diced strawberries and a sprinkle of oregano. Serve with a wafer cookie and enjoy!

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