Tuy Nguyen, also known as @TwayDaBae, has achieved an extraordinary transformation from a little-known prep cook to a social media star with over a million followers on TikTok and Instagram.
Her viral success has now culminated in the opening of her spectacular Los Angeles restaurant, Di Di, where she celebrates her Vietnamese heritage through culinary delights.
Nguyen’s journey to fame began in March 2020 when she started posting cooking videos of Vietnamese cuisine on TikTok. Her easy-to-follow recipes quickly gained popularity, with over 1.3 million likes for her first viral video, a simple fried rice recipe. Nguyen uses her passion for food to connect with people around the world, saying, “Food was always something through which I could express myself.”
While her virtual presence flourished, Nguyen dared to dream big. In July 2021, he hosted a two-night pop-up at Petit Taqueria restaurant, a momentous experience that fueled his determination to connect with people through his culinary creations. The pop-up’s success attracted the attention of industry experts, including H.Wood Group co-founder John Terziyan, who was “surprised” by the event. This meeting led to the concept of Di Di’s own restaurant.
For Nguyen, Di Di represents the culmination of her experiences, blending techniques she learned in culinary school with the cherished taste of her mother’s cooking from Vietnam. A standout dish on the menu, honey-battered shrimp, originated as a recipe he developed for a final project at the Art Institute’s Culinary Arts School. The overwhelmingly positive response to this dish boosted his confidence and made him realize his true potential as a chef.
Di Di, which opened its doors with tropical-themed decor, aims to celebrate the culture that made Nguyen grow up, infusing every aspect of the restaurant with her own personal touch. With a mix of professionalism gained from culinary arts school and the heart and soul of his heritage, Nguyen hopes to carve his niche in the competitive Los Angeles gastronomic scene.
“I really see Mars and this concept as a rising star,” said John Terziyan, recognizing Nguyen’s incredible journey and the path she can pave for other aspiring TikTok chefs. However, Nguyen’s aspirations extend far beyond social media fame; She wants to inspire young women and entrepreneurs to follow their passion and open their own businesses.
Tuy Nguyen’s story is a testament to the power of social media and the courage to pursue dreams beyond the digital realm.