From rags to riches, Yia Vang has come a long way to appear on Iron Chef: Quest for an Iron Legend. But more than a chance at fame, he was happy to represent Hmong food on an international level — a good way to promote his Union Hmong Kitchen as well.
Keep reading this Yia Vang Bio to learn more about him.
Yia Vang On Netflix’s Iron Chef: Quest For An Iron Legend
A new iteration of the Iron Chef franchise, Iron Chef: Quest for an Iron Legend premiered on June 15, 2022, and as always it saw seven challengers stepping into the Kitchen Stadium, facing each other in a fiery cooking show off.
Meanwhile, many competitors believed Iron Chef was all about the will and hunger to be the best, Yia Vang’s motive to join the show was more to promote Hmong food on an international level. And perhaps this was also the reason he couldn’t reach very far.
While on the show, Yia was paired against Iron Chef Gabriela Camara, who was well known for toying around with varying flavors and spices. And being asked to incorporate different kinds of Chily Peppers in their creations, which was already ticky in itself, Yia lost the battle to the Iron Chef.
However, Yia did appear to be quite at home, working with spicy ingredients with a mix of his Hmong style. Sadly, the talented chef wasn’t just able to match the tastes of the incredible judges Andrew Zimmern and Nilou Motamed.
Joining Yia in the kitchen stadium were chefs — Mason Hereford, Curtis Duffy, Claudette Zepeda, Gregory Gourdet, Mei Lin, and Esther Choi. They faced Iron Chefs Curtis Stone, Gabriela Cámara, Dominique Crenn, Marcus Samuelsson, and Ming Tsai.
Super excited to show the world his Hmong tradition, Yia took it to his IG before the premiere to write, “Can’t wait for you all to watch me battle an #ironchef in Kitchen Stadium. Iron Chef: Quest For An Iron Legend is coming to @netflix on June 15!”
Yia Vang Career
This chef first started his journey in Feb 2016 opening Union Hmong Kitchen in Graze Food Hall in North Loop MPLS with a vision to create a home for his Hmong food that celebrates his parents’ legacy and tells his family’s story through food.
“My parents believed in eating at the table together. It was a time to take a pause in our lives and connect with each other,” he recalled. And wants people to experience that — sharing a big table with family and connecting.
Fast forward to June 2020, Yia then started Vinai MN, a similar restaurant dedicated to bringing Hmong flavors to American palates. The restaurant also offered catering for weddings, corporate events, and special events in Minneapolis and St. Paul. In case you’re interested to dine in — a prepaid reservation for parties of 2 to 8 costs $120 per person.
As for his education, he graduated from John Edwards High in 2002 and went on to study Communications and Interpersonal Communications at the University of Wisconsin–La Crosse from 2002 to 2007.
Is Yia Vang Married?
No, Yia Vang isn’t married as of 2022. And sadly, we have no information about his current relationship either.
However, in case you’re interred in his past dating life, do check his podcast with White on Rice where Yia and David talk about their experience using dating apps. There, the duo share hilarious stories, talked about what they looked for in a potential date’s profile, and talked about the best practices they’ve learned through trial and error.
Did you know: Yia’s favorite restaurants in St. Paul were Animales Barbeque CO., Bebe Zito Ice Cream, Brasa Premium Rotisserie, Centro, IPHO, and Santi’s.
Yia Vang Age
Yia Vang was reportedly born in 1982. That made him 40 years of age when he appeared on Iron Chef: Quest for an Iron Legend in 2022.
Most of the contestants that season was in their mid-30s to late 40s.
Yia Vang Height
Yia Vang stands tall at a height under 5 feet 9 inches (175 cm).
Is Yia Vang On Instagram?
Yes, find him on Instagram @yiavang70.
Yia Vang Family
Yia Vang comes from a family of nine — he, his parents, and his 6 siblings.
Talking about them, his parents met in 1979 at a refugee camp in Thailand (for refugees displaced from the Vietnam War). His father then landed a job in the US Army, and the family moved to the States.
However, though the family might have had a better life, after moving to the US, Yia felt isolated. “I was 7 years old I remember going to sleep almost every night and praying to God that when I wake up in the morning I wouldn’t be Hmong.” he shared.
It seems that the chef was embarrassed about his heritage, his name, and his parents.
But fast forward to over 3 decades, Yia is proud of his parents. He is thankful to his father who taught him everything he knows about life in and out of the kitchen. Also, he is grateful to his mother for inspiring him every day. “Mom’s life has been the embodiment of this idea. She is full of courage and what drives her courage living a selfless life dedicated to the ones she loves,” he praised his mother.
As of 2022, his parents were married for 45 years.
Sadly we don’t have every detail about his siblings. But we do know that he has sisters named Mai N Thao (married to Steve Thao) and Kelly, and brothers named Peter Vang (a real estate agent at Horizon Realty, Koob Moov Vang (married to Christina Bai), KangBao-Cheng Xiong, and Steve Thao.
Where Does Yia Vang Live Today?
Yia resides in Minneapolis, Minnesota today (as of 2022).
Originally, he is from Port Edwards, Wisconsin, and he only moved to La Crosse, Wisconsin in 2002.
When Is Yia Vang Birthday?
What’s more, Yia receives his birthday wishes on June 1, making him of the Gemini zodiac.
How Much Is Yia Vang Net Worth?
Yia flaunted anet worth of over $600 thousand by 2022.