OKC Chef’s Business is on the list of Top New Restaurants nationwide

Oklahoma City has seen a restaurant renaissance in recent years. Now, a restaurant in town has captured national attention.

Ma Der Lao Kitchen, tucked away in the city’s Plaza district, was named one of Bon Appetit’s newest top 50 restaurants.

The restaurant is a few weeks away from its first anniversary. Owner Jeff Chanchaleune said he woke up to a call a few days before his own birthday.

“Honestly, I was kind of shocked, and I didn’t know if I was, like, ‘Am I dreaming? Is this real?'” Chanchaleune said. “It was always a dream to do this post, and it happened. It was really surreal. [I had] a flood of emotions. I cried. I was like, ‘I did it. I made it happen.

The new Lao restaurant, located near Northwest 16th Street and North Blackwelder Avenue, is now on the culinary map after its newfound fame.

“Bon Appétit is one of the largest food publications, and they’re known for their Top 50 restaurants list,” Chanchaleune said. “You only have one chance to do it (be) because next year is another restaurant, and thousands of restaurants open every year.”

Ma Der will reach her first year on September 29.

Growing up with a father who worked as a chef, Chanchaleune has spent her entire life in a kitchen.

“I was running to the grocery store for my dad because it was right across the street.” Chanchaleune said, “Scrubbed potatoes, bus tables, washed dishes. I did it all. Prep, make gravy because at one point in my life we ​​dined at Mustang.”

Her father has a classical training in French and American cuisines. Chanchaleune is also a professionally trained chef with nearly 20 years in Japanese cuisine.

After Chanchaleune traveled around the world from the kitchen, he wanted to bring home Mom’s Lao cuisine.

“My mom did all the Lao cooking, that’s how I learned to cook, and the flavors were very nostalgic. Cooking from memory,” Chanchaleune said. “Just being able to do this for the community, because it’s so small, I didn’t want it to go to waste. The food or the culture.”

Chanchaleune doesn’t know when Bon Appetit came to eat, as they follow a secret shopper type method of trying restaurants, but he does know what they ate.

One thing every foodie should know, before anyone can “bon appetit” they must “ma der”.

“Whenever we invite you to the table or whenever we’re at the table eating, it’s ‘my der,’ actually,” Chanchaleune said. “It’s, like, ‘Pass by. Come and eat.'”

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