HOMETOWN: Philadelphia, PA
CURRENT CITY OF RESIDENCE: Athens, GA
OCCUPATION/PROFESSION: Head Chef & Owner, Pretty Boy (Opening 2024) – Executive Chef, The Expat
A first generation American born in Philadelphia, Chef Kenny Nguyen learned the art of cooking from his family, most of all his Vietnamese grandmother. After taking classes at the Art Institute of Atlanta, he worked his way through various kitchens and eventually became the Sous Chef at Sea Bear Oyster Bar. Kenny then headed to New York to hone his craft, where he worked as a fishmonger at Greenpoint Fish & Lobster and landed a job at Jen Pelka’s the Riddler. The pandemic brought him back to Georgia where he worked at the Ritz Carlton in Lake Oconee before accepting an Executive Chef position at the Expat in Athens. His cooking style focuses on playing with food and flavor combinations, but he leans on his Vietnamese upbringing to create new dishes. Kenny was named Rising Star of Georgia by Restaurant Informer magazine in 2021. Currently, he’s focused on opening his own Vietnamese restaurant in Athens, Pretty Boy, which is a tribute to his grandmother and the English translation for her nickname for him.