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Growing up a home cooked meal was an essential part of my family life. We always had at least two chefs cooking for our very large family and my father's employees. Meal time was always a lot of excitement. Vietnamese culture, like any culture that emphasizes eating as a major part of their day, has a rich and complex cuisine. That's what has made Vietnamese cuisine one of #Anthony Bourdain's favorites.
While on a visit to my studio in Vietnam, I have expanded our production capacity and improved many of our working processes all while implementing additional employee's benefits. One such benefit is to provide home-cooked, gourmet lunch for all my staff.
The story about our chef:
I asked our production manager, Tram, to find us an office cleaner. Tram literally walked out of her residence and spoke to the first lady sweeping the floor in the public area of her apartment. The lady who sweeps the floor knew that her sister Tuoi was in need of a job since her husband hadn't been able to find work to support their family of four. Tram arranged for Tuoi to come to our office. She did a stellar job helping us return the place to sanity. I decided to speak with Tuoi briefly and found out that she was in need of a more permanent job to support her family. Fast forward a few days later, Tram and I asked if Mrs. Tuoi could help us with arranging and cooking for our staff at the studio. Tuoi was extremely gracious and took up the offer.
This week, our staff have been well fed with her delightful cooking. The fresh ingredients, healthy menu and excitement during lunch time is now a major part of the studio routine. Tuoi only has to work three hours a day and is still able to go home to take care of her children. The pay for those three hours is plenty enough to take care of her family.
Considering this is costing my company more than we've budgeted for (I don't think this was in the budget but don't tell my CFO ok) but the happiness of my staff is priceless. I am also glad that I've provided another woman with an opportunity to be independent, to care for her family and to be able to continue to pay for her kids to be in school.