Inside the Story: Renowned chef goes from fine dining to fried chicken

Inside the Story: Renowned chef goes from fine dining to fried chicken (Photo: KUTV)

(KUTV) -- A renowned fine dining chef has made a bold move.

Viet Pham. 36. has traveled the world, won prestigious chef awards, and ran one of Salt Lake City's most popular fine dining restaurants.

And now, he's opened a hot chicken restaurant.

"That's just something I never thought I would do," Pham said.

But when he took his first bite of an amazing piece of chicken from a restaurant in LA, he was hooked.

"It was just like 'bam,'" he described. "It opened up my eyes and it opened up my heart. I'm like, 'This is amazing. This is what I have to do. This is what I'm going to do.'"

Five years later, Pretty Bird Chicken was born.

It took him that much time to develop the secret recipe for the hot chicken.

"The hardest part about coming up with the recipe is finding a balance on where there is heat, but it also accentuates other seasonings, " said Pham.

But it looks like he got the recipe right.

Pretty Bird, located on Regent Street in Salt Lake City, is frequently crowded during the lunch hour.

"It's a mixture of the juicy chicken, and the crispy outside, and all the interesting seasoning," said Kristen Kwan, one customer.

Dan Rascon even caught up with some visitors who decided to try Pretty Bird during their layover to Chicago.

"Grabbed a taxi and here we are for the best chicken in Utah," said John Jubilee.

Pham hopes to open up additional Pretty Bird locations.

The restaurant's name comes from a movie scene in "Dumb and Dumber."

For Pham, the success is a dream come true.

He was born in a tree house in a refugee camp off the eastern coast of Malaysia and was fired from his first restaurant job.

Now, he couldn't be happier.

"To me, that's what matters most at the end of the day--not who I am or what I've done. It's about making people happy," Pham said.

For more information, you can visit the Pretty Bird Chicken website or Facebook page.