Thi Hy Dang HeadshotBorn in Ha-Dong, Hanoi, Thi Hy Dang (aka Gia Chánh Quc Vit, aka Ba – William Le’s grandmother) was a famous TV chef in Vietnam for four decades. She migrated to Sydney, Australia following the decimating horrors of Vietnam War but eventually made a prospective life for herself in the heart of Bankstown, home to a vibrant Vietnamese community. She still gets recognised everywhere from her doorstep to Surry Hills and, of course, as far as her homeland, which remembers her fondly.

During her career in cooking, teaching and presenting, Thi has accumulated an impressive bilingual (Chinese-Vietnamese-English) compilation of 63 DVDs, 84 videos, 48 cassettes as well as some online content, under the name Gia Chánh Quc Vit. Her cooking and arts & crafts classes are often in demand by the community, which praises her wonderfully eccentric, ornate and equally edible food art showcases. She also is key to many local wedding tributes and festival furnishings such as Chinese New Year.

Whether this food art is a watermelon carved in flowers; a granny chicken enjoying herself in the pot; a ham roast dressed up as an elephant; or a peacock and fish made out of pineapples and chilli – there’s no denying the mad genius behind Ba’s simple and gentle demeanour. Moreover, when she was younger she was apt in Mark typewriting, accounting and shorthand Vietnamese-French-American.

Thi has made a similar splash in the world of screen and radio having been responsible for her contributions to a women’s radio program and television in Saigon. Nowadays she lends her voice to SBS, 2UE, 3UE and a segment for Radio 24/24 and 2VNR called “I Cook Stove” in Sydney. She is a guest speaker for Vietnam Radio Australia (VNRA), which is broadcast not only locally but also in USA, particularly in Virginia, California and San José.

In print, Thi has been featured in editor newspapers: Vietnam Salgon Times (valve Luan-Art, Bell Saigon), California Paper Women’s Forum and The World Today Wichita.