When he’s not winning awards for his cooking skills, Borivane Khemmanyvong is creating remarkable dishes at French Market Bistro and at home for his family. Two things Borivane values are hard work and fatherhood. He is most comfortable in the kitchen, and he is teaching his daughter the ropes as well. Borivane, though usually quiet, lights up when he talks about family, whether it’s his brilliant kids or strong parents. The best meals are the ones made with love, and Borivane’s heart is big enough to feed the entire city. This dad takes his jobs very seriously and is determined to leave a legacy in both realms.
How did you meet your significant other?
B: We actually met in high school, at Lee High School. I guess you could say we were high school sweethearts.
Three things you always have with you?
B: My phone because I do a lot of calling to sales reps, a pen, and of course, my knife. I’m always at work or at home. I have a set at work and a set at home.
Three words to describe yourself?
B: Very fortunate, shy, and creative.
First thing you notice about people when you meet them?
B: Their smile.
Most recent proud parenting moment?
B: I have so many. I guess my son being a straight A student and being on the Principal’s List.
Last daddy fail?
B: When I dropped my son and gashed his forehead when he was younger. My daughter still can’t ride a bike, and I think that’s my fault.
How do you manage work and fatherhood?
B: Well, I try to leave work at work, and deal with family stuff at home. I only have a few hours a day at home. It’s kinda tough. I work every day. I work lunch weekdays and all day on weekends. When I leave here, I cook dinner at home and help with homework.
How do you incorporate creativity into your work and home life?
B: I take things I see or use the mood I’m in. It’s kind of like a painting in that I use something that inspires me. It could be the summer or the rain. I use what I’ve done before or what’s in season. At home, I cook whatever the kids like. My son is starting to get more adventurous. My wife is Vietnamese and I am Laotian, so I cook a lot of Asian food at home.
Favorite spot around town for date night?
B: I don’t have a favorite spot, because it’s always different restaurants. We always go to eat and see a movie. But, my favorites are Ruth’s Chris and Juban’s.
If you could invite anyone over for dinner, who would you invite?
B: Thomas Keller. Just to pick his brain.
What good habit do you have that you would like to pass on to your children?
B: My manners, my patience. Unlike other chefs, I don’t get mad easily.
Hardest thing about being a dad?
B: I want my kids to be better than me. I would say the pressure for them to do well.
How do you incorporate your chef talent and knowledge in cooking for the kids?
B: I make what they like, but make it in a creative way. I would make mac and cheese with other cheeses and add some sort of meat.
What is your go-to dish and quick recipe for your family?
B: It would have to be fried pork chops, rice with fried eggs, and sautéed spinach. They love it, I love it. It’s quick and easy.
What would people be surprised to learn about you?
B: I’m a comic book fan and a fan of all the movies.
How did you react when you found out you were going to be a dad?
B: I was really stunned and confused, but then I was really happy. When Matthew was born, I cried when I saw his fingers.
What’s your parenting style?
B: I’m very patient but serious at the same time. My kids know that when I say something, I mean it.
What’s one piece of advice you often give your children?
B: To think before you say something and think before you act.
How has parenthood changed you?
B: Everything. I used to be a non-caring kid who just wanted to do guy stuff. But now, I’m more responsible and organized.
How did your parents’ experiences shape you?
B: They came to America in 1981. It made me a better man knowing what they went through. It made me a better worker. I value money and hard work. They worked so hard to just have food to eat. My mom would work all day for us and we barely had anything.
What’s one thing your kids have taught you?
B: That I can’t dance.
What advice would you give to other parents?
B: Be the best parent you can be. There’s no wrong way to be a good parent.
Before kids, I never thought I would… change a diaper or give a kid a bath.
In my fridge, you will always find… Milk. Eveything really, because I cook a lot.
Favorite movie growing up… Braveheart.
My guilty pleasure is… chocolate.
Growing up, I knew I wanted to… cook. I was probably 13 when I started.
I can’t stop listening to… Rise Against.
I like my coffee… black. I just want the caffeine.