Cooking Up A New Dream: KOTO's Covid Story

Updated: Apr 26

(Tiếng việt bên dưới)

The First 30 Days

Schools in Hanoi were the first to close to ward off the spread of the Coronavirus, immediately following the Lunar New Year holiday . It was a big decision to make. But by most accounts it was effective. Coronavirus struggled to get a foothold in Vietnam.

But it didn’t stop there. As the coronavirus spread around the world, tourist numbers declined. Though the Van Mieu restaurant remained profitable the writing was on the wall. Around the world lockdowns were becoming commonplace. It was only a matter of time before a lockdown hit Hanoi.

In March of 2020, it finally happened. The borders to Vietnam were closed and the city of Hanoi went into lockdown. Bars, clubs, and karaoke parlous were closed - and of course, restaurants.

Our Van Mieu restaurant, after twenty years of operation, was forced to shut its doors. Our trainees returned to the training center where they would have to wait it out all the while losing the valuable real-world training experience KOTO is known for. Experience that has helped make our trainees some of the best.

This was a scary time. We were headed into unchartered territory with over a hundred young people from all sorts of diverse and troubling backgrounds depending on us for a brighter future.

Hanoi enters lockdown

Filled with uncertainty and concern for not just their own health but that of their families, our students were looked down at the Yen Vien training center. The days were long but filled with activities carefully executed by our amazing staff who really came through when the going got tough.