#LuckyriceHouston: Uchi's Duong Nguyen on Hurricane Harvey

Paying homage to what it means to be #HoustonStrong, we wanted to give the unsung heroes in the restaurant industry a chance to speak for themselves and recount their experiences of Hurricane Harvey. Here Uchi Houston's Duong Nguyen, a sushi chef who has been at Uchi since November 2015, shares his story.

 Hurricane Harvey was devastating for Houston and its surrounding areas. The majority of Houston was underwater, people lost their lives and a lot of homes, businesses, properties, and lives were heavily damaged as Harvey made landfall in late August. Although the damage to the inside of our restaurant home, Uchi, was somewhat minor, floodwaters crept inside the restaurant and sewage backed up in the drains. We were closed for five days.   Our family is physically safe and doing alright but many of us were affected by Harvey and still recovering.
Personally, Harvey did affect me. Nothing too major as I am and physically doing fine, but I did lose my car in the record rainfall and flooding that Harvey had caused. Although I was trapped inside my apartment complex for week or so, I saw Houston as a city come together in the midst of this disaster. From the federal aid workers, to complete strangers, everyone in the Houston community was coming together for a single purpose and that was to rescue those in danger.
Those who were able to helped in anyway they could. People volunteered, people donated, people lent their tools, boats and vehicles, people cooked for the rescuers,  people were doing everything they could to lend a helping hand for those during the disaster, during the rescue efforts, and continuously during the recovery.  A lot of the people outside of Houston and from surrounding states aided as well. Celebrities and major companies from all over the nation got involved to help the people of Houston. I saw something I hadn’t seen before in Houston since moving here two years ago. It flew over my head I guess living in a fast paced city and being busy and on the go, but no matter what gets thrown at us, the city is ready for anything.
The restaurant community got involved as well. Uchi definitely was involved in the aiding.  Those who were able to and the chefs cooked for the first responders during the rescue efforts.  Uchi will always be a special place to me.  I’ve come to really love and enjoy the culture their.
What we provide for our guests is an experience I’ve never really had as a guest prior to working and dining their. I have had the opportunity to learn from many talented chefs and cooks as well as learn a thing or two from the Front of the House as well. The culture there is like a family. Everyone has respect for one another and really everyone gives the time to really get to know each other inside and out. We are one giant team. If somebody is down or having a rough day, we don’t forget about them we try to help each other succeed through whatever they are going through and push each other to become better. I’ve never worked in a place that did family meal everyday until Uchi. Since being apart of the Uchi team, I’ve learned a lot and feel like I’m growing to be better everyday.