About Diana Nguyen:
When we lived in Vietnam, every meal was a task for the whole family; my mom and I gathered dried palm leaves from the woods, my brothers and my father fished, my sisters picked vegetables from our small garden or the river. My mom and my oldest sister usually prepared our meals. The times my brothers and father didn’t catch any fish, my mom came up with creative dishes so we could have a full meal. We ate fish a lot, rarely having meat with our meals. Maybe that is why all my siblings are still healthy to this day. Ever get the fortune cookie that says, “You are what you eat”? There’s a lot of truth to that, but I also agree with the food experts who say, “It’s not what you eat, but how you eat it”. I believe every meal can be a delightful experience if done right.
My family and I escaped from Vietnam in 1985; we spent two years in several refugee camps and came to America in 1987. I graduated from Oklahoma State University with a business degree in 1999 and started my career with Motorola. After I got laid off from Motorola in 2001 I decided to use my severance package with two small loans from my co-workers to purchase a small Vietnamese Restaurant in Florida that I managed with my mom and oldest sister.
I moved to Texas in 2012 with my husband and our two sons and so far we have enjoyed the people and culture here very much. I realized my passion to create tasty and healthy foods came from my mom and oldest sister. My mom taught us the traditional ways of making food and how to utilize our taste buds to season our dishes. My oldest sister showed me some new and innovative ways to create food. I am passionate about creating cross-cultured recipes that everyone can enjoy as an experience. I am the proud owner of 4 Elements by Em Gourmet. I am also inspired from the documentary "Cooked" by Michael Polan to name my restaurant "4 Elements" with "Em" as my mother's first name. At first, I did not realize my mother's name, EM, is within "ELEMENTS". I believe our Vietnamese cuisine embodied the 4 elements and I hope you will enjoy our food as an experience that connects you to our Vietnamese heritage and history.