Chef Peter Wu currently works at Phởmo - Barangaroo, but this comic was drawn and edited from an interview I conducted with Peter and his mother years ago.
We'd met at Lee Tran Lam’s recommendation because I was writing an article for a magazine, interviewing second generation Vietnamese in the restaurant industry to discuss tensions between assimilation and 'authenticity' for migrant children. In the unfinished dining room of a restaurant they were preparing to open, we talked about what honoring tradition and loyalty look like when a new culture, community and environment demanded innovation and transformation for old traditions to survive and reach new audiences.
When the magazine article fell apart, I had remembered Peter's mother's restaurant was in my hometown and thought to adapt Peter's story for an expanded 11th year anniversary edition of CAB, my comic anthology of true stories from Cabramatta.
I made the CAB comics aiming for readers to feel like they were in conversation with my contributors. I'd transcribed and edited interviews for the brevity of comics, but always wanted to impart each voice's distinctive syntax, something Peter possessed and fitted well alongside the other stories.
When the anniversary edition didn't publish in time for my solo exhibition at my hometown museum, I was glad to be invited by Leah Jing & Rachel Ang to join their crowdfunded Australian comics anthology alongside HUMYARA MAHBUB, JASON PHU, LEE LAI,PEO MICHIE, SAFDAR AHMED and URBIGFROG. I'm glad this very small glimpse of a much larger project has survived. I'd love another chance to revisit it in the future, but until then please enjoy the comic in full here or pick up a copy of the recently published Comic Sans Anthology. Risograph printed by Glom Press. Published as an imprint of Liminal Magazine. Launched at Melbourne's Sticky Institute.