Houston chef using her business to help survivors of domestic abuse

All through the month of May, FOX 26 is celebrating Asian American and Pacific Islander Heritage by recognizing the contributions from local Houstonians.  

One award-winning chef is using her business to help survivors of domestic abuse.


For Chef Lena Le, cooking came naturally.

The 36-year-old decided to learn how to cook just five years ago; going to culinary school in 2017, after moving to the U.S. from Vietnam just two years prior.

"I was a banker and a teacher in Vietnam," Lena said.  

In less than five years, Lena’s won a James Beard Award and worked alongside high-profile chefs, like Aaron Bludorn.

A month ago, she started her own healthy meal prep business called, "Lena’s Asian Kitchen."

"I really want to embrace my Asian roots. Asian food has so many flavors, different cooking techniques, different dishes that are so good. We need to introduce it to the world, so instead of doing just Vietnamese, I’m doing all of them. So, we have Indian, we have Lebanese, Fillipino, Thai, Japanese, Korean," Lena said.  


Her business is also committed to helping survivors of domestic abuse, start over.
It’s a cause that falls close to her heart.

"A lot of family members of mine are suffering from domestic abuse. Some of them are physically abused, some of them emotionally abused, some of them even sexually assaulted," Lena said. "Witnessing them suffering is kind of like giving me a bit of trauma and I really want to make a change. I really want to help. A job is necessary for them to start saving, to start a new life, get a new car, and then save up to get their own apartment."

Although being open for business for just a month, Lena's kitchen is taking in more than 400 orders a week.

"I do feel like this is an American dream because anything can happen. I came over here with no background as a chef and here I am," Lena said.  


But Lena’s dreams for expansion are just getting started.

"We plan to open in every state, even in another country. Wherever we have domestic abuse survivors, we will open there," Lena said.

Currently, Lena's Asian Kitchen is operating through online orders only. However, her goal is to open a retail storefront by the end of the year.

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