NOSH Saigon 2019: An Interview with MAD House’s Camilla Bailey
Meet chef Camilla Bailey, owner of MAD House, one of the chefs participating in this year's Nosh Saigon.
Originally from Copenhagen, Denmark, Camilla Bailey started her career at two Michelin-star restaurant Henne Kirkeby Kro in Denmark. She went on to work at three Michelin-star restaurant Geranium and at one Michelin-star restaurant A.O.C, both in Copenhagen.
Before opening MAD House, which casually translates to ‘food house’ in Danish, Camilla worked at Chill Skybar and its group of affiliated outlets for three years. After some time, Camilla and her partner went on to kickstart MAD House with the goal of opening a venue where diners can relax and visit every day of the week for a good coffee, lunch, or a romantic dinner. The goal was to make something for everyone.
At a glance, Camilla and MAD House has been recognized in the industry as: the Neighborhood Restaurant of the Year 2018 at Vietcetera’s Restaurant & Bar Awards 2018, winner of the Urban Burger Competition Saigon 2017, owner of MAD House since 2015, owner of Shawarma Express since 2017, Chill Skybar Sous-Chef from 2012 to 2014, winner of Iron Chef Vietnam 2013, winner of the Nordic Championship for Young Chefs 2012, and winner of the Danish Championship for Young Chefs 2012.
What culinary philosophy do you follow as a chef?
My philosophy is to keep it simple. Start from the basics. If you don’t know your basics then stop doing anything else. Get the basics right, know your seasoning, know your cooking, and as long as you know your basics, you can go crazy from there. I also don’t like to go to restaurants that serve Instagram-able food but lacks flavor, character, or personality. I want my dish to have simple ingredients while also being well-prepared, so our diners don’t need to add too many things when it is served. And that’s what we also manage to do at MAD House.
What brings you to the food and beverage community in Vietnam?
What’s not to love? I have my own restaurant now. We started out with a small team and currently there’s 70 staff under us. I’m feeling lucky to have this chance to work with my crew under this MAD House.
As a returning chef, what did the NOSH program do well last year?
I believe it was fun because the team was full of young, vibrant, and talented chefs. We all have the same goal, which is to make an exhilarating experience for guests. We worked well together and I think the best part of the event was to see how it all came together. It’s a good thing to have a fun break from normal work.
Is there anything that needs improvement?
If possible, maybe we can improve the budget on the food this year. But it’s good overall.
How are you preparing for this year’s NOSH?
Actually, I will arrive back from Denmark the day before the event so I have about 6 hours to prepare everything. I might try and bring something back from Denmark, some vegetables perhaps.
What is your favorite Vietnamese food?
The dish that I probably eat the most is bun thit nuong. Barbeque dishes in Vietnam are my favorite.
What are your top picks for eating out in Saigon?
I really like a small Italian restaurant called Cugini in District 2. And I think they need more credit for what they are doing. They serve simple. good Italian food while being affordable too. Every night after service, I like to have my dinner there.
More information about the event can be found here.
Book your ticket now:
Price: 2.200.000VND/person/night (all inclusive)
Inbox: Nosh Saigon or Grain Cooking Studio
Call: (+84) 909 904 636
or Pop by GRAIN Cooking Studio counter,
Level 3, 71-75 Hai Ba Trung, D.1, HCMC.
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