koto’s vip diner

koto and julia gillardMany Intrepid travellers to Vietnam have enjoyed great food and service at the marvellous KOTO on Van Mieu restaurant in Hanoi. On Sunday October 31, KOTO trainees were honoured by an extra special lunch guest, the Hon Julia Gillard MP, Prime Minister of Australia.

“We’re all thrilled that the Prime Minister chose to come to KOTO during her short stay in Hanoi and we were privileged to meet her,” said Jimmy Pham, KOTO International CEO and founder (and former Intrepid group leader).

“The trainees’ faces lit up the instant I told them we were having such a special visitor – I think they were nervous and excited. They really enjoyed the experience and are very lucky to have met the Australian Prime Minister. At KOTO, a big part of what we do is provide trainees with an environment where they can develop into confident young adults, and having the Prime Minister come today is validation that what they’re doing is working and that they should be proud of themselves,” said Jimmy.

The Prime Minister, accompanied by Australian Ambassador to Vietnam, Mr Allaster Cox, talked with KOTO front of house and kitchen trainees, graduates, and was presented with the KOTO cookbook by Jimmy as a gift (photo below).

KOTO graduate and KOTO on Van Mieu staff member, Mr Le Van Trieu, met the Prime Minister and said it was a wonderful experience. “The Prime Minister was very nice. She seemed very pleased to be here and to meet everyone. She made everyone feel very proud to be part of KOTO,” said Mr Trieu.

KOTO (Know One, Teach One) is a not-for-profit hospitality training organisation that has trained in excess of 300 street and disadvantaged Vietnamese youth in Hanoi over the past 10 years, and has recently established KOTO Saigon in Ho Chi Minh City. Its 24-month program includes both front-of-house and kitchen, as well as English and life skills. We welcome donations to support the trainees at KOTO’s new Saigon Training Centre via The Intrepid Foundation.

jimmy and julia guillard

The Intrepid Foundation – travellers making a difference
Help support KOTO and other great grassroots organisations via the Intrepid Foundation, plus find out how your donation can be matched* by Intrepid Travel!

* Donations will be matched by Intrepid Travel up to AU$5000 (or equivalent) per donor and a total of AU$400,000 each financial year.

About the author

Sue Elliot - Like many of us, Sue contracted a serious travel bug at an early age. She's visited over 90 countries in search of a cure, but her wanderlust just seems to get worse. Thankfully at Intrepid Travel she's amongst people who understand the affliction and since 1998 Sue has enjoyed being our blog and newsletter editor. Here you'll find helpful travel advice and inspiring tales from Sue and other Intrepid travellers.

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My daughters and I visited Koto a few of years ago, eating there a couple of times and befriending some of the staff. What an amazing experience – both the food and the hospitality were second to none. Well worth the visit if you are in the vicinity.

Ditto to the above comments, I was in Hanoi this past April visiting my friend who highly recommended Koto. After my first Koto experience I tried to go there every day to get my fill of their exquisitely prepared food and excellent service. I came away with their tshirt and book as a reminder of what an excellent iniative Koto is for young people in Hanoi.


I also visited KOTO on a trip to Hanoi. I ate there many times as the food was execeptional and the staff were so friendly and proud. It is an absolutley wonderful concept.


I visited KOTO on a trip to Hanio a few years ago. It would have to have been one of the best meal I have ever eaten, and the staff was just great.

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