Phan grew up extremely poor in the outskirts of Da Nang, about 30 miles (48 kilometers) from Hoi An. He was raised on land contaminated by Dioxin during what the Vietnamese refer to as the 'American War.'
He was accepted to STREETS at age 19; Phan says he never thought he would be lucky enough to have such an opportunity. He found the rigorous training program difficult. "I pushed myself to go on. STREETS taught me how to do that," he says.
After graduating, he was selected for a cook’s position to work under the Executive Chef at La Maison 1888, the only Michelin three-star restaurant in Vietnam at the Intercontinental Da Nang Sun Peninsula Resort. Phan says, "I do everything for my heart, not for the money." After several years he married and started his family with a son. Then he moved back to his hometown of HoiAn as a Demi-Chef de Partie in a cozy Hoi An Villa resort. Most recently he decided to take an entrepreneurial leap and opened his own BBQ food cart, serving tourists at the HoiAn night market.