Executive Chef Aileen Soufangue
Aileen’s story starts with a tragedy but ends in artistry. During the “Killing Fields” period of Laos (appx 1975) – Alieen’s entire family was executed – but 11 year old Aileen was able to flee to France for safety.
The marvels of the French culinary world opened to Alieen in Paris when she was taken in by a family who owned several Parisian restaurants and also — to Aileen’s delight — a culinary school! She learned cooking in the French technique – and for over 40 years, worked in many Paris kitchens. She opened her own Thai restaurants in Paris and ran them until 2012 when she decided to join distant relatives in Minnesota. Here she became the head chef at “Lemongrass Thai” restaurant until 2018.
At Lucky Street – Chef Aileen spreads her wings and brings back her French influences to her Thai food at Lucky Street.
A tad unconventional…and tucked in the corner of Aileen’s Thai menu.. is a little “Boutique French Menu” offering 3 quintessential French Dishes – including a delicious Beef Bourguignon. Well, why not? The French have shared a harmonious co-existence with the Thai and Laotians – so why should they not share space on a menu. Right, Aileen?
Victor” Vixaysak Phommachanh
Victor was one of the over 125,000 Laotian refugees who made the perilous escape to the U.S. since 1975 — fleeing brutal military and economic persecution.
At the age of 20 – after spending 2 years in a Thai refugee camp – Victor came to Minnesota. His natural flair for cooking and knife skills landed him a job at the top Minneapolis sushi bars, first Ichiban, then Fuji Ya and then Nami. By 2005, his amazing flair for sushi caught the attention of Tiger Sushi – where he was the Head Sushi Chef for 14 years. Victor’s culinary creativity greatly enhanced the Tiger Sushi menu by adding his curries, Asian soups and his incredible dishes influenced from the French occupation of Laos as well as neighboring Thailand and Vietnam. In 2015, Victor met Chef Aileen – a kindred spirit with similar origins – and their friendship began.
Chef Felix Navas
Felix Navas left his home in Guatemala at the age of 20 to join his brothers here in the U.S. He worked a variety of jobs in the Twin Cities – but when he landed a cooking job at Kozy’s in The Galleria, Felix had found his passion.
A regular customer told Felix about a sushi roll he’d loved at nearby Tiger Sushi. The idea of sushi was so new and intriguing to Felix that he marched in to Tiger Sushi the next day and asked for a job.
It was 2005 and Felix was hired at Tiger Sushi as a Prep Cook in the kitchen – a job which he mastered in a few short months. Felix continued to inquire about learning Sushi. “Tiger” Katayama recognized the talent and motivation in Felix and began to work with him. Within 6 months at the Sushi Bar, Felix had developed the skill, speed and artistry of Sushi Chefs with 5 years more experience. And when Tiger Katayama retired in 2014, it was Felix he had been grooming to take his role as Manager of Kitchen and Sushi Bar – the position that Felix occupied until 2018