A native of Orange County, California, Vince Nguyen gave up dreams of becoming a pediatrician when he discovered a talent for cooking. At age 21, he started his professional career at Providence, a two-Michelin star restaurant in Los Angeles. After 2 years in LA, Vince moved to Portland, Oregon where he worked under chefs Matthew Lightner and Justin Woodward at Castagna, eventually moving up the ranks to become sous chef. It was from his experience at Castagna that Vince grew more interested in the international food scene which took him to work in some of the best restaurants in the world, including Noma in Copenhagen and The Royal Mail in Australia (under chef Dan Hunter). Upon Vince’s return to the States, he worked as sous chef at Daniel Patterson’s Coi Restaurant in San Francisco. In October 2015, Vince launched a weekly pop-up dinner series under the name Jolie Laide. His ambitious 12-course tasting menus were immediately met with rave reviews and solidified his ambitions for a brick and mortar restaurant. Berlu is the culmination of Chef Nguyen’s experiences in top restaurants as well as an articulation of his personality. It is through his ever-evolving cuisine that he feels best able to express himself.
The name Berlu (bear-loo) comes from the French expression hurluberlu, used to describe an “an eccentric person.” Like Chef Vince Nguyen himself, Berlu is at times eccentric but always authentically so.