Charles Phan

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Charles Phan
Toàn Phan

(1962-07-30) July 30, 1962 (age 61)
Da Lat, Vietnam
EducationUniversity of California, Berkeley
Culinary career
Current restaurant(s)
  • The Slanted Door, San Francisco

Charles Phan ( Toàn Phan; born July 30, 1962) is an American chef, cookbook author, and restaurateur. He is the executive chef and founder of "The Slanted Door" restaurant in San Francisco, California and The Slanted Door Group of restaurants. He has published two cookbooks on Vietnamese cuisine.

Early life and education[edit]

Phan grew up in Da Lat, Vietnam, after his parents fled China in the 1960s.[1] His surname is of Vietnamese origin and pronounced “fän”. His given name is Toàn but that later changed to Charles when he came to the U.S.[2] In Vietnam, his father, Quyen Phan, and uncle opened a small grocery store where Phan and his five siblings helped with the family business. This would eventually become the inspiration for his San Francisco restaurant, Wo Hing General Store (2011–2013).[3]

In April 1975, just before Saigon fell to the Vietcong, 13 year old Phan and his family of 8 fled with 400 other people aboard a cargo ship. The ship eventually arrived to Guam where they lived for 18 months.[4] There, Phan's family was sponsored by an American couple who supported them with housing. While helping his aunt to cook and watching Jacques Pepin's television show, Phan became interested in cooking.[5]

After living in Guam for 18 months, the family immigrated again and settled in San Francisco, California.[4][6] He was raised in the Chinatown neighborhood and attended Mission High School, graduating in 1979. He was admitted to the University of California, Berkeley’s School of Architecture but dropped out his third year to protest a steep tuition increase.[2] After leaving college early, Phan worked in software sales and other various jobs as he was developing the concept for his first restaurant, The Slanted Door.[2]


As a young teenager, his curiosity for food began at home while watching his aunt cook and while exploring the food scene of San Francisco.[5] Phan saw an opportunity to introduce American diners to the world of Vietnamese food. He started by hosting small dinners for friends, refining his style of cooking, and developing his restaurant idea.[1]

In 1995, Phan opened his first restaurant, The Slanted Door, as a fine dining restaurant serving Vietnamese cuisine. Its goal was to elevate Vietnamese food with modern design, sustainable local ingredients, quality teas, and wine pairings.[7]

The Slanted Door’s first location was on Valencia Street in the Mission neighborhood of San Francisco.[8] It later moved to the SOMA (South of Market) neighborhood in 2002 and finally to its famous location at the historic Ferry Building in 2005.[8] Slanted Door was one of the first restaurants in San Francisco to feature craft cocktails.[7]

In 2004, Phan was recognized as “Best Chef: California” from the James Beard Foundation.[9] In the years that followed, Phan continued to expand his restaurant group with more restaurants and bars.


Slanted Door (2010), San Francisco
Slanted Door (2010), San Francisco

Active restaurants[edit]

  • Slanted Door, San Francisco (1995–present)[10][8]
  • Slanted Door, San Ramon (2019–present)[11]
  • Slanted Door, Napa (opening soon)[12]
  • Out The Door at Ferry Building, San Francisco (2005–present)
  • Rice and Bones at Wurster Hall, University of California, Berkeley (2017–2023)[13][14]
  • Chuck's Takeaway, San Francisco (2022–present)[15][16]
  • Moonset, Larkspur (opening soon)[17]

Closed restaurants[edit]

  • Academy Cafe at California Academy of Sciences, San Francisco (2008–2014)[18][19]
  • Heaven's Dog, San Francisco (2009–2012)[20]
  • OTD (Out The Door Bush Street), San Francisco (2010–2021)[10][21]
  • Wo Hing General Store, San Francisco (2011–2013)[22]
  • Hard Water, San Francisco (2013–2020)[23]
  • South at SFJazz, San Francisco (2013–2017)[24][25][26]
  • The Coachman, San Francisco (2014–2015)[20][27]


  • Phan, Charles (2012). Vietnamese Home Cooking. Jessica Battilana, Eric Wolfinger, Slanted Door. Berkeley: Ten Speed Press. ISBN 978-1-60774-053-7.
  • Phan, Charles (2014). The Slanted Door : Modern Vietnamese Food. Janny Hu, Ed Anderson. Berkeley: Clarkson Potter/Ten Speed Press. ISBN 978-1-60774-054-4.


  • 2004 - Phan was recognized as “Best Chef: California” from the James Beard Foundation[28]
  • 2011 - Phan was inducted into the James Beard Foundation's Who's Who of Food and Beverage in America[28]
  • 2013 - Phan's book “Vietnamese Home Cooking” won the IACP (International Association of Culinary Professionals) Cookbook Award for Chefs and Restaurants[29]
  • 2014 - The Slanted Door was recognized by the James Beard Foundation as an Outstanding Restaurant in America[30]
  • 2015 - Phan's book “The Slanted Door” won the IACP (International Association of Culinary Professionals) Cookbook Award for Photography

Personal life[edit]

In 1995, Phan married Angkana Kurutach in San Francisco, California where they still reside with their three children.[2][6]


  1. ^ a b Phan, Charles (2012). Vietnamese Home Cooking. Ten Speed Press. p. 222. ISBN 9781607740537. Retrieved 14 February 2022.
  2. ^ a b c d Witchel, Alex. "As a teenage refugee, he was the family cook. Now, he's a lauded chef". No. 11 September 2017. The Washington Post. ISSN 0190-8286. Retrieved 14 February 2022.
  3. ^ Manual Design and Brand Consultancy. "Wo Hing General Store". Manual Creative. Retrieved 14 February 2022.
  4. ^ a b Bittman, Mark. "THE CHEF/Charles Phan; The Flavors of Vietnam, Captured in a Pot". No. 07 April 2004. New York Times. Retrieved 14 February 2022.
  5. ^ a b Sung, Esther. "A Conversation with Charles Phan". Epicurious. Epicurious. Retrieved 14 February 2022.
  6. ^ a b Nathan, Joan (2013-01-15). "Holding Fast to a Vietnamese Heritage". The New York Times. ISSN 0362-4331. Retrieved 2022-11-13.
  7. ^ a b Phan, Charles (2014). The Slanted Door Modern Vietnamese Food. Clarkson Potter/Ten Speed. p. 261. ISBN 9781607740544.
  8. ^ a b c "Ferry Building's Slanted Door restaurant is getting remodel and staying put". 2021-11-17. Retrieved 2022-11-13.
  9. ^ "James Beard Foundation Charles Phan Award Winner". James Beard Foundation. James Beard Foundation. Retrieved 14 February 2022.
  10. ^ a b Bauer, Michael (2010-01-03). "Phan's OTD adds flair to upscale spot". SFGate. Retrieved 2022-11-13.
  11. ^ Bitker, Janelle (2019-01-07). "Slanted Door Opens Sleek New East Bay Location". Eater SF. Retrieved 2022-11-13.
  12. ^ Warerkar, Tanay (2021-06-04). "Famed Vietnamese restaurant the Slanted Door is opening in Napa". San Francisco Chronicle. Retrieved 2022-11-13.
  13. ^ Saria, Lauren (2022-08-11). "Star Chef Charles Phan Is Turning This Berkeley Restaurant Into an Ode to Rice". Eater SF. Retrieved 2022-11-13.
  14. ^ Fort, Ellen (2017-10-20). "Charles Phan's Fast-Casual Vietnamese Spot Is Now Open on Cal's Campus". Eater SF. Retrieved 2022-11-13.
  15. ^ Ascarrunz, Maria C. (2022-03-23). "Chuck's Takeaway: Charles Phan is back!". Mission Local. Retrieved 2022-11-13.
  16. ^ Wells, Madeline (2022-02-04). "Famed SF chef's new sandwiches are 30 years in the making". SFGate. Retrieved 2022-11-13.
  17. ^ Madrigal-Yankowski, Nico (2022-04-18). "Charles Phan expands Bay Area food empire with Marin venture". SFGate. Retrieved 2022-11-13.
  18. ^ Morgan, Miriam (2008-10-01). "What's New: Academy Cafe and Moss Room at the Academy of Sciences open". SFGate. Retrieved 2022-11-13.
  19. ^ Pape, Allie (2014-10-14). "The Moss Room Shutters For Good; Phan Out, Foodservice Giant In". Eater SF. Retrieved 2022-11-13.
  20. ^ a b Pape, Allie (2014-02-26). "Charles Phan Turning Heaven's Dog Into British Spot". Eater SF. Retrieved 2022-11-13.
  21. ^ Lorell, Clair (2021-05-26). "Out the Door Pac Heights Closes Permanently After 11 Years of Spring Rolls and Chicken Porridge". Eater SF. Retrieved 2022-11-13.
  22. ^ Pape, Allie (2013-03-27). "Charles Phan Closing Wo Hing General Store". Eater SF. Retrieved 2022-11-13.
  23. ^ "Charles Phan's former whiskey bar Hard Water sued over very large back-rent bill". 2022-03-14. Retrieved 2022-11-13.
  24. ^ Garrett, Rose (2014-06-25). "Charles Phan Turning South at SFJAZZ Into Mexican Spot". Eater SF. Retrieved 2022-11-13.
  25. ^ "No Bandwiches Here: Charles Phan opens South Restaurant at SFJAZZ". KQED. Retrieved 2022-11-13.
  26. ^ "South At SFJazz Shutters, New Concept In The Works". 2017-03-06. Retrieved 2022-11-13.
  27. ^ Pape, Allie (2015-01-30). "After Just Ten Months, Charles Phan Is Shuttering The Coachman". Eater SF. Retrieved 2022-11-13.
  28. ^ a b "Charles Phan | James Beard Foundation". Retrieved 2022-02-19.
  29. ^ "2013 Awards Winners" (PDF). International Association of Culinary Professionals. Archived (PDF) from the original on 2022-02-13.
  30. ^ Sciacca, Annie (May 5, 2014). "Bay Area Chefs Charles Phan and Daniel Patterson scoop up James Beard Awards". Retrieved 2022-02-19.

External links[edit]