Billy Ngo | Owner & Executive Chef of Kru Restaurant
Bailarín Cellars celebrates those who do what they love. Their passion for life is unstoppable and their enthusiasm is infectious. We celebrate these "dancers" in our hero feature and learn from their words of wisdom.
This month we celebrate Billy Ngo, Owner and Executive Chef of Kru Restaurant in Sacramento.
WHAT MAKES YOU DANCE?
"Culinary creativity makes me dance."
I guess you can say I sort of fell into the culinary world. I had never really thought about being a chef until I graduated high school. My initial career plan had been to become a marine biologist but after taking some college courses, I realized the traditional path was not for me. Simultaneously, I was working in a restaurant and the realization hit me, if I am already doing something that I really enjoy, then why not pursue that passion full force. That is when I decided to attend culinary school in San Francisco and I have never looked back. I was very young, in my early twenties, when I opened my first restaurant Kru Restaurant in 2005. I focused on putting my entire self into doing what I love most.
One of my earliest mentors, Randall Selland (proprietor of Selland Family Restaurants), was a key supporter of mine. Many chefs do not share their food knowledge, however he did and he was eager to see me succeed. This set my journey on course and my passion for cooking and inventing grew exponentially. Learning from an amazing mentor instilled in me the desire to pay it forward. Our team at Kru all work together to come up with our culinary creations. I don’t believe I am the best teacher but I do feel I have an ability to inspire others to find the creativity that lies within them. I am encouraged and find great joy in seeing my team unleash their creative side.
The buck doesn’t stop there. I am happy where we are at today, however, I do see the opportunities that lie ahead. Sacramento has an amazing future and I love being a part of this change. As a native of the greater Sacramento Area, I grew up with non-locals viewing this territory as too agricultural, calling it a “cow town” but now this very “cow town” is honored as the Farm-to-Fork Capitol of the nation. It is helping catalyze the entire farm-to-fork movement to become something bigger than just a name. This change means so much more than Kru, Fish Face or my latest venture, Healthy Hounds Kitchen. This change is about an entire community, one that I am proud to call “home.” It is invigorating to be a part of this food evolution and it is only the beginning. There is much to be done to put Sacramento on the map and we are fired up for our culinary vision to be a part of it!