Nashville is known for being the home of country music. If you are a New Yorker like I am you basically sit on your high horse and imagine it to be a place where cowboys roam the streets, everyone owns a cow and cultural diversity is non existent. Three years ago a twist of fate brought me to Nashville to live and what I found was a world I only pictured in my dreams.
Nashville is a community of creative souls from all over the world, ones who have passion and drive and a need to connect with their community. It is very bohemian and no one judges you, what you find is inspiration and tolerance. I have a more diverse circle of friends here then I have ever had growing up in New York. The Nashville natives have embraced me as they do all their neighbors. In our core community there are trend setters and role models, pioneers if you will that we celebrate. Some familiar names you may know are Reese Witherspoon, Faith Hill, Johnny Cash, and Al Gore. We are all equal and when one triumphs we all reap the rewards.
As we speak our dear City of Nashville is all a buzz over one of our favorite rising stars, Arnold Myint. Arnold is an Asian American who grew up watching his mother educate Nashvillians on oriental cuisine. She opened up the first ever Thai restaurant here over 30 years ago, International market. All these years later Patti Myint’s restaurant is still thriving and her legacy continues with Arnold. In his adolescent and young adult years Arnold was a professional ice skater and toured around the world. When he felt he had done all he could with skating he decided to focus on his first true love, food. Arnold went on to study at a New York Culinary school.
When he returned to Nashville he quickly took over his mom’s second restaurant PM and created a casual Asian menu and delighted the locals with charm and flavor. It quickly became a neighborhood sensation everyone from students to business men can’t get enough of Arnold’s unique version of these exotic dishes. I first had the pleasure of meeting the quirky, fabulous perfectionist Arnold Myint when I was hired to work at one of his three restaurants, Cha Chah.
Watching Arnold work his food and then work the guests in the dining room was truly exhilarating to me. His work ethic was one of a super hero’s. His mind and body was non stop. He would often pop up at the host stand where I was, and serenade a list of his future plans and schemes and I would marvel at him. Part of me wondered if one man could really accomplish all that he had in his head. A few months later sure enough his third restaurant concept was born, Suzy Wong’s House of Yum, a very sensual Asian bistro where Arnold sometimes appears in drag as Miss Suzy Wong herself.
Another goal he would often speak about was how he was going to be on Top Chef.
Low and Behold bringing us to present day Mr. Myint did just that, he has just returned from filming Top Chef. He was chosen as one of the 17 contestants on Bravo’s hit show, which by the way is not done being filmed. The Top Chef season finale will be aired live sometime in July.
Not only is Arnold executive Chef and Owner of 3 popular restaurants, PM, Cha Chah and Suzy Wong’s, he has also been featured in GQ magazine for his award winning Bombay Sapphire cocktail and is also a fierce event planner.
Arnold Myint is as colorful as Nashville. He embodies elegance and excellence and is a true representation of the beating heart of Nashville. We are all so proud, and can’t wait to cheer him on, this season of Top Chef.