Editor’s Note: ‘All The Homies’ won the James Beard Media Award for which they were nominated, beating Top Chef/Bravo and Bon Appetit.
PORTLAND, Ore. (KOIN) — Mike Truong didn’t study photography in college. He studied computer science and pre-med. But after he graduated from Oregon State, he dove into taking videos and pictures full-time. One tool he doesn’t use these days is a cherished keepsake — his dad’s old DSLR.
“It’s sort of funny in a way because, like, my dad has always pushed me away from doing this, but he sort of gave me the tools to do it,” Truong told KOIN 6 News.
He also briefly worked at a local restaurant and got a taste of the tough industry. He soon realized he’d prefer to document the sides of the business that people don’t often see.
“That’s when I decided, OK, I can’t do this for my rest of my life even though I absolutely love food. But there absolutely has to be another way that I can connect to food without actually working in a restaurant.”
Truong is now clearly focused on doing what he loves — being able to record his 7 best friends for All The Homies Network, a YouTube channel where he gets to share some deeply personal stories for everyone to see.
“These are the kind of stories that happen every single day within our community, but it doesn’t get, you know, told out in the public. so it’s like almost our little own secret, right?” he said.
The homies, except for Truong, are business owners in Portland’s food scene. The “homies” are Richard and Sophia Le of Matta, Ian Williams of Deadstock Coffee, Lisa Nguyen of HeyDay doughnuts, Kim Dam of Portland Ca Phe, and Ethan and Geri Leung of Baon Kainan.
Now, one of the Homies’ videos is nominated for a James Beard Media Award. “Restaurant Takeover featuring Matta” shows the food cart owners during a special event at Multnomah Whiskey Library.
“This one was just because Richard is very good at storytelling. He really is able to storytell from very deep pain,” Truong said. “If we somehow win, this wouldn’t be a win for me or just the network. It would be literally a win for, like, the Portland community.”
All 8 “Homies” are going to Chicago for the awards event on June 3. In their category, they are up against Bon Apetit and Bravo’s Top Chef.
For Truong, this nomination is the result of a decade of submitting videos for a James Beard Award. His nomination finally came this year.