“I believe that when you cook for someone—and know it will delight them—it’s an act of kindness.” Mai began sharing her delicious dishes at her first restaurant, Lemon Grass, in Sacramento. Mai’s culinary inspiration comes from the cherished food traditions her family brought from Vietnam. Soon after opening her restaurant, she convinced a local farmer to grow the vibrant herbs she needed to make her Southeast Asian cooking authentic. “I cook using recipe memories from my grandmother, who was the kindest person I know,” says Mai. The popularity of her restaurant Lemon Grass led Mai to open a second restaurant, Star Ginger, where she serves her take on Asian street food.