Sophina Uong 2023 Sophina Uong is the Executive Chef/Co-Owner of Mister Mao in New Orleans, one of Bon Appétit’s “50 Best New Restaurants 2022.” Known for her “inauthentic” globally-inspired cuisine, the Cambodian-American chef melds her expertise in collaborative cooking tradition and flavors from across the world with her creative dissection of the Southern plate. With over 25 years in the culinary industry, Uong has worked in nearly every position in the restaurant business, from serving and tending bar to managing and – her real passion – cooking. The spirited chef has worked in some of the San Francisco Bay Area’s most acclaimed restaurants including Restaurant Lulu, Absinthe, Citizen Cake, Revival Bar + Kitchen, Waterbar, Pican and Calavera. In 2016, Uong was named Food Network’s Chopped “Grill Master Napa Champion” and soon after, was tapped to open Andrew Zimmern’s Lucky Cricket restaurant in Minneapolis. Throughout the her many years of cooking, one thing has remained constant – her love of Southern cuisine. Travels to the deep south inspired her dishes back in California and eventually led to the conceptualization of Mister Mao. The result – a vibrant and festive New Orleans restaurant filled with creative cuisine, killer cocktails and detailed, personal service. Uong is equally passionate about giving back and advocating for the local community, and is actively involved in a variety of non-profits including the MiNo Foundation, Turning Tables NOLA, and Make-A-Wish Foundation; working to ensure that the happiness she brings to people extends far beyond their palates.