In conceiving DucknRoll, Chicago’s newest addition to the food-truck revolution, Amy Le needed not look far for inspiration. She’d been preparing for it her whole life.
DucknRoll is a concept inspired by Vietnamese bánh mì sandwiches, with a contemporary take on flavors from China, Japan, Korea and Thailand. The truck is a moving tribute to co-owner Amy Le’s restaurateur mother who immigrated to the United States as a Vietnamese refugee and features time-tested and adored family recipes and preparations. Le was raised in her mother’s eateries, where she learned how to prepare family recipes.
After graduating from Loyola University Chicago, Le had the opportunity to work under Chicago restaurateur Bing Zhou, owner of Chen’s and Koi Chinese & Sushi. Zhou is also a co-owner in DucknRoll food truck and brings his extensive experience and knowledge of authentic Chinese cooking to the truck.
Showcasing the elemental-influenced yin and yang of flavor notes common in Asian cuisines (salty, bitter, sour, spicy and sweet), Le and Zhou’s sandwiches are made with a baguette holding pate or varied meats and garnished with fresh herbs and vegetables— the standout among those in this case being the 5spice Duck Roll of DucknRoll’s namesake.
In many Asian cultures, duck is the main poultry served on holidays and during special occasions. It is considered a symbol of good luck. Le and Zhou hopes to share this good fortune with hungry Chicagoans across the city.
About Amy Le
Amy Le gained an intimate familiarity with every facet of the restaurant business, starting out in her mother’s kitchens as a dishwasher when she was scarcely tall enough to reach the sink. As she got older—and taller—she eventually helped manage both the front and back of the house at her mother’s restaurants in St. Louis. What seemed like sacrifices at the time would create a theme that would continue throughout Le’s career, which no matter where it took her, always seemed to lead back to her love of food. After graduating from Loyola University in 2003, Le worked under Chicago restaurateur Bing Zhou as a manager and event coordinator. She however, left the brick-and-mortar restaurant business to pursue a career in journalism and then an opportunity to head up Social Media and Public Relations for Chicago-based internet company, GrubHub. At GrubHub, Le was able to continue her passion for food and help other independent restaurant owners increase their visibility in the online space. It was also at GrubHub where Le was once again inspired by an entrepreneurial drive to follow her dreams and open up her own food venture.