A first-generation Asian American, Uno Immanivong was born in a refugee camp in Nong Khai, Thailand, run by the United Nations Organization (UNO), for which she was named. Her parents, having fled their native Laos, dreamed of giving her a better life. Their determination led them to America, where they settled in Houston and later moved to Keller, Texas. Working two and three jobs, they encouraged Uno to get an education and a profession. As a result, she flourished in a 16-year banking career. Yet her own dream — of nourishing people with food — always lingered.
Uno had learned to cook mostly from her mom, who kept an overgrown garden that provided plenty of mint, Thai basil, Thai chilies, and tomatoes for the family table, and who catered Thai and Lao weddings to make ends meet. In 2012, Uno auditioned for “The Taste,” a reality cooking show with Anthony Bourdain, Nigella Lawson, Ludo Lefebvre, and Brian Malarkey that would debut the following year. Bourdain chose Uno to mentor on his team, and she competed in four episodes. This life-changing experience empowered her to follow her heart and pursue her passion. That year she left banking and opened her first restaurant — Chino Chinatown in Trinity Groves.
Hugely popular, Chino Chinatown quickly became known for its duck fat fried rice, which the Dallas Morning News raved about in a review and which was celebrated in Southwest: The Magazine. Chino was nominated for Best New Restaurant 2014 by CultureMap Dallas, and its ramen was named best in the city by the Dallas Observer. In 2017, Uno debuted Red Stix Asian Street Food in Legacy Hall food hall in Plano. In 2019 she opened the first permanent location, near Southern Methodist University. CultureMap nominated Red Stix for Best New Restaurant 2020, and in 2021 Thrillist called out Red Stix’s Damn Damn Noods as one of the 28 Most Essential Food Experiences in Dallas. A second Red Stix location — in Farmer’s Branch — will open in 2021.
In addition to her appearances on “The Taste,” Uno has appeared in cooking segments on Fox 4 KDFW’s “Good Day,” “Eye Opener” TV, and the Cooking Channel.
Uno’s portfolio also includes Chef Uno Brands (a hospitality consulting firm) and Chef Uno Catering. The latter was founded during the Covid-19 pandemic, when Uno partnered with several nonprofits to serve more than 100,000 meals to frontline healthcare workers, essential employees who lost their jobs, battered women and military personnel. Chef Uno Catering earned special recognition from Parkland Hospital for nourishing its team.
Visit Chef Uno Brands