Sofitel Saigon Plaza and KOTO today announced the soft-opening of its new flag-bearing Vietnamese restaurant, ST25 by KOTO, an extraordinary venue dedicated to showcasing modern Vietnamese cuisine. The new outlet, set to open its doors on December 6th this year, declared its kitchens open at an unveiling press conference held in the hotel today. Located in the vibrant heart of Ho Chi Minh City on the second floor of Sofitel Saigon Plaza, ST25 by KOTO introduces a contemporary twist to Vietnamese cuisine, marking a pioneering leap in culinary innovation. Boasting a seating capacity of 140 guests, it aims to welcome 100 diners nightly.
The name “ST25 by KOTO” pays tribute to the renowned Vietnamese rice variety, ST25, which earned the prestigious title of “World’s Best Rice” in 2019, representing the essence of Vietnamese culture. Beyond mere sustenance, rice assumes a role of profound significance in the fast-emerging Southeast Asian nation; embodying the tenacity, ingenuity, and unwavering ardor of Vietnam.
This restaurant endeavors to be more than a dining experience; in the words of KOTO’s founder, social enterprise pioneer and luminary Jimmy Pham, it is: “A living testament to the power of knowledge-sharing, encapsulated in KOTO’s mission: “Know One, Teach One.”” Entirely staffed by KOTO Graduates, who have been trained in the art of Vietnamese hospitality, ST25 by KOTO not only offers exquisite Vietnamese cuisine but also contributes to the KOTO Foundation, empowering marginalized Vietnamese youth. These skilled professionals have received training in Vietnamese hospitality from some of the country’s top culinary experts. Through ST25 by KOTO, KOTO not only provides its Graduates with a platform to showcase their skills on a global stage but also remains dedicated to community development.
“We are delighted to partner with Sofitel Saigon Plaza to launch ST25 by KOTO,” Jimmy Pham continued. “ST25 by KOTO represents the strength of collaboration and our vital commitment to community betterment. Up to 10% of each bill will be allocated to the KOTO fund. Through ST25 by KOTO, we’re not only providing fresh prospects for our Graduates but also presenting the pinnacle of Vietnamese culinary artistry on the global stage. Moreover, as a co-founder of VietHarvest, ST25 also joins forces with the VietHarvest mission, amplifying its impact in reducing food waste and supporting vulnerable communities.”
“ST25 by KOTO is a testament to our belief that every meal can be a force for good and that every dish can tell a story of tradition and innovation. With the introduction of ST25 by KOTO, we aim to celebrate Vietnamese culinary excellence, reinforce our deep commitment to the local community, and express our strong dedication to corporate social responsibility.” – shared Mr. Mario Mendis, General Manager of Sofitel Saigon Plaza.
Jimmy Pham remarked, “ST25 by KOTO rises above the conventional definition of a restaurant. Collaboratively curated by two culinary talents, Bao La and Heath Gordon, our menu promises an extraordinary dining experience.” ST25’s culinary offerings showcase a diverse range of contemporary Vietnamese dishes, all meticulously prepared with seasonal, locally sourced ingredients.
“At ST25, we’re on a mission to elevate Vietnamese cuisine to new heights. It’s an honor to work alongside Chef Heath Gordon and contribute to this culinary masterpiece. Our shared passion for authentic, unforgettable flavors drives us to create dishes that not only satisfy the palate but also leave a lasting impression on every guest,” said Chef Bao La.
KOTO Foundation is a pioneering social enterprise in Vietnam, founded in 2000 by Jimmy Pham. It focuses on providing comprehensive hospitality training and job opportunities for disadvantaged Vietnamese youth, aiming to break the cycle of poverty. KOTO’s holistic programs cover various aspects of hospitality, including cooking, customer service, and social skills like financial management and English communication. Graduates are highly sought after in the industry for their dedication and positive attitude. Many have successfully secured positions in prestigious hotels and restaurants in Vietnam and around the world, showcasing the profound impact of KOTO’s transformative initiatives.
KOTO stands for Know One, Teach One – learning should be passed on; knowledge is meant to be shared. This is the essential idea of KOTO and is upheld by Vietnamese-Australian founder, Jimmy Pham. In 1999, Mr Jimmy opened Vietnam’s first social enterprise; a hospitality training centre in Hanoi, giving at-risk and disadvantaged youth the opportunity to break the poverty cycle by forging a better future for themselves, their families and their communities. Twenty-two years later, KOTO has over 1,200 graduates, which include executive and sous chefs, hotel and resort general managers, business owners and university graduates. All are contributing to their families and society. KOTO continues to be acknowledged as a leading and unique not-for-profit social enterprise, not only in Vietnam but also internationally. Today, KOTO provides over 100 at-risk and disadvantaged youth per year in Vietnam an opportunity to undertake our 24-month holistic hospitality training program to end the cycle of poverty and truly empower our trainees to realise their dreams.
ABOUT SOFITEL SAIGON PLAZA
Sofitel Saigon Plaza harmonizes the sophistication of French art de vivre with the vibrancy of local Vietnamese culture, delivering a luxury hospitality experience enriched by genuine heartfelt service. Conveniently located in a tranquil enclave on Le Duan Boulevard, Sofitel Saigon Plaza places you in the heart of Ho Chi Minh City’s business, cultural, and shopping district. The hotel boasts 286 rooms and suites adorned with refined décor and deluxe amenities, a fitness center featuring advanced exercise equipment, and an outdoor swimming pool with breathtaking city views. Sofitel Saigon Plaza also features five dining establishments serving local and French cuisine, seven polished meeting rooms, and an opulent ballroom equipped with state-of-the-art facilities, making it the ideal destination for business, leisure, meetings, and gatherings.
Sofitel Hotels & Resorts is an ambassador of modern French style, culture and art-de-vivre around the world. Established in 1964, Sofitel is the first international luxury hotel brand to originate from France, with more than 120 chic and remarkable hotels in many of the world’s most sought-after destinations. Sofitel exudes a refined and understated sense of modern luxury, always blending a touch of French elegance with the very best of the locale. Sofitel also includes a selection of heritage luxury hotels under the Sofitel Legend banner, renowned for their timeless elegance and storied past. Some notable hotels in the Sofitel portfolio include Sofitel Paris Le Scribe Opera, Sofitel London St James, Sofitel Dubai The Obelisk, Sofitel Legend Old Cataract Aswan, Sofitel Mexico City Reforma, Sofitel Legend Santa Clara Cartagena, Sofitel Legend Metropole Hanoi and Sofitel Ambassador Seoul. Sofitel is part of Accor, a world leading hospitality group counting over 5,400 properties throughout more than 110 countries, and a participating brand in ALL – Accor Live Limitless – a lifestyle loyalty program providing access to a wide variety of rewards, services and experiences.