Ordinary-extraordinary women (Part 2)

Angie Dinh: The ultimate foodie

I first met Angie and her now husband Ryan at their lavishly home-catered Oriental High Tea, one in a series of pop-up restaurant events they put on for their friends between 2013 and 2014. I had the privilege of attending two of these sought-after events as a little known ‘plus one’. The first, in March 2014, featured dainty tea trays covered in decadent Asian-fusion goodies, and the second in August, following a Christmas in July theme.

As a newcomer to the couple’s social circle, I was impressed not only with the quality and presentation of their culinary delights, but also with their big-hearted, joyful generosity in serving their friends. Over the years, I have gotten to know the effervescent Angie a little more, and was excited to approach her about being the second subject for my ‘ordinary-extraordinary women’ series.

For Angie, the social experience of sharing food is more important than how it looks or tastes. “Food is my love language,” she says. “The more I love you, the fatter you are!” The Australian-born daughter of Vietnamese refugees, Angie learned from very early on that giving food meant giving love. “Growing up in an Asian family,” she explains, “it can be hard to share thoughts and feelings with words.” So Angie pours out her heart over home cooked meals and in distributing tasty baked goods.

Angie’s online nom-de-plume says it all: Angie Lives to Eat (and Cook!). A former serious food blogger, Angie continues to ‘microblog’ on social media, posting daily about her latest kitchen experiments, baking victories and delicious meals out. These days, her social media accounts are also flooded with videos of her three pet ducks: Orange, Sage and Cinnamon, as well as motivational messages about self-care, with reference to her own mental health journey. “When you have changed a lot,” she says, “you want to share to make a difference.”

As Angie savours her spicy tuna poké bowl (photos later appearing online), I ask her how it feels to be called inspiring. She’s had it before, she says, as someone with a strong online presence. She also inspired many when in 2016 she sacrificed a comfortable, well-paying, office job to take up 3am starts and a pay cut as a trainee baker at an inner city café.

Hobby baking was no longer enough for Angie; she needed to do something bigger. The adjustment was brutal, and in the end the job didn’t work out. But Angie doesn’t regret jumping off the deep end. A lot of people are scared of taking risks, she reasons, and later they often regret not giving something a shot. She didn’t want to be one of those people.

Angie’s current project, when she’s not busy baking and doting on her ducks, is seeking a career where she can combine her love of food and serving people with her administrative skills and office experience. She counts herself as blessed to have husband, BFF an number-one backer, Ryan, around to support her in her endeavours. Married since 2016, they are high school sweethearts, set to celebrate their 18th anniversary later this year.

Having recently moved out of her family home, they are also planning to redo the kitchen in their new place, an important move for a couple so keen on cooking. But in the meantime, Angie is thankful for the basics. She doesn’t have a ten-year plan; she doesn’t want to waste time worrying about the future when she can enjoy the present and entrust the rest to God. Her focus now is on being kind to herself, continuing to serve others, and waiting for the right opportunity career-wise, something she can really throw herself into 100%.

Thank you, Angie, for your many delicious gifts over the years, and for your openness and humility in sharing your story. I look forward to reading the next chapter!

***

If you enjoyed reading about this ordinary-extraordinary woman, stay tuned for Part 3!

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