Region has chronicled the extraordinary life story of Paris Floyd, the daughter of a Laotian CIA agent who came to Australia as a refugee before she became singer Kyle Minogue’s lingerie designer. Today, we’ll take a look at the role she plays as a home-based chef, providing Griffith with its first taste of Vietnamese food, as part of our regular Five Minutes series.
Who is Paris Floyd? I thought for 20 years, I was a lingerie designer. I had worked with Kylie Minogue on her Love Kylie range in Melbourne and various other house brands.
It took a trip to Poland, visiting the Auschwitz and Birkenau concentration camps for me to turn away from the fashion industry. I saw tanks filled with women’s and girls’ hair that had been cut off. In 1942 hairs were sold to German companies as raw material for haircloth and felt. I knew then that whatever I did, I had to be responsible for wastage and the environment.
I’m [now] a healer of the mind, body, and soul. I’m a mother of two sons and a mother to everyone in my community. I give free food to mothers with sick children, mothers running away from domestic violence and to teachers, police and hospital staff who are supporting us. I nourish through my language of love which is food.
Best recent dining experience: I’ve been living in Griffith for three years and just tried La Scala. The food was presented well and delicious. Lighting was good and service came with a smile. There was an upbeat energy and warmth about the place and really brought out the heart of an Italian experience.
Favourite cuisine: Vietnamese, Thai, Lao and Hmong (where I come from) cuisines. I like clean and light village food straight from garden to table with layers of healing herbs and spices.
My biggest culinary influence: I’ve picked up details in food preparation, ingredients, tastes and presentation from home and through my travels where we used to dine with business partners almost every night in China, at 5-star restaurants in Sydney, on the market streets of Luang Prabang in Laos and eating in huts on rattan tables with simple produce my relatives had grown themselves – even the spoons were made from lead that had been collected from discarded bombs from the Vietnam War.
Favourite cookbook: I’m inspired by cookbooks for their beautiful photography, but my favourite food related books would have to be Grow a New Body by Dr Villoldo who talks about how our body process the food we eat and the impact it has at cell level. Another is The Better Brain by Dr Julia Rucklidge who promotes food packed with vitamins and minerals to treat mental illness. I check in with books like these to form the foundation and confidence of my food offering for better health.
Who I admire in the Riverina food and wine scene: Luke Piccolo from Limone. His presentation is simple and elegant, and his story is translated into his food. Having experienced the a la carte dinner, his respect for nature and sophisticated styling was evident in the quality and excellence of his food.
Death-row meal: My banh mi lemongrass chicken or vegetarian meatballs. We take out the flesh of the bread to leave more room for fresh vegetables and protein. We had a queue from my front door to down the stairs and back out to the front gate again. In winter, my laksa and pho are also popular.
My least favourite food: I try to eliminate packaged can ingredients such as coconut creams. Over transportation and storage time, the elements of the aluminium can leach into food.
My top three cooking tips:
1. Clean cooking means clean eating. I cut fats off chicken or gently boil them to rid impurities before using it in the meals.
2. Use fresh ingredients with health and healing benefits.
3. Cook with intentional love and care. I offer food to my customers that I would feed my children so my intention in food prep and cooking has the right energy. Customers will feel your intentions from the review that they give back.
Paris Floyd advertises her services and food she offers on her Facebook page Paris Floyd Home.