Katherine Manning

Cindy Seip

In 1975, after narrowly escaping the fall of Saigon, pregnant refugee and gifted cook Tung Nguyen ended up in the Miami home of Katherine Manning, a grad student and waitress taking in displaced Vietnamese refugees. Their meeting evolved into a decadeslong partnership, one that eventually turned strangers into family and a tiny, no-frills eatery into one of the most lauded restaurants in the country, Hy Vong. Tung’s fierce practicality often clashed with Manning’s free-spirited nature, but over time they found harmony in their contrasts – a harmony embodied in the restaurant’s signature mango and peppercorns sauce. Their powerful tale of resilience, friendship, family, and food is told in Mango and Peppercorns: A Memoir of Food, an Unlikely Family, and the American Dream (Chronicle Books). Lidia Bastianich, celebrity chef and public television host, called the book “a touching and inspirational culinary journey into a fascinating culture and a cuisine that I adore. This incredible story about the dream of a refugee that fled Communist rule in Vietnam hit home for me. Her passion for food made her American dream come true.”