LOCAL Houston | The City Guide August 2016 - Page 40

Chef Nicole Routhier PERFECT TASTE By Tim Moloney | Photography by Julie Soefer On June 4, 1986, New York Times Food Critic Craig Claiborne wrote an article about the state of Vietnamese restaurants in the United States and the lack of first-rate dishes. That was all ambitious, New York City culinary student Nicole Routhier needed to read. Routhier, born in Vietnam to a French father and Vietnamese mother, and raised all over the world, from Laos to Belgium, knew she could impress him if she just had the chance to cook for him. So, egged on by her husband, she wrote him a letter. Two days later, he called and took her up on her offer. Two weeks later, she was cooking for him at his house on Long Island. “When you’re a kid in your 20s, you just do these dumb, adventurous things without thinking,” she laughs. “But if you never risk anything, you never win anything.” 40 L O C A L | august 16