MK Vongnarath began cooking when he was just six years old and living in Laos. Every morning, he and his mother would get up at 6 a.m. to prepare food for the Buddhist monks who lived at the nearby monastery. They'd serve them breakfast, and then turn around and prepare them lunch a few hours later. "It wasn't a business," Vongnarath explains. "It was a donation — an offering."
Now, Vongnarath's days start later, but not all that much. After running the successful food truck MK's Rolls and Wraps, the chef decided it was time for a brick and mortar. He opened his first restaurant, MK's Asian Persuasion (6417 Hampton Avenue), in Southampton at the end of last month.Vongarath emigrated to St. Louis from Laos, by way of Thailand, in 1981 when he was thirteen. After graduating high school, he got a job as a freight driver, but he could not shake the feeling that he wanted to get into professional cooking. He began his food truck in 2015, but quickly realized that he wanted a more traditional storefront. When the space on Hampton came available, he jumped on it and got to work converting the restaurant into the Asian fusion restaurant of his dreams.
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