Tammy PhamTammy Pham arrived from Viet Nam by herself as a young girl in the 80’s. She studied Electrical Engineering at Illinois Institute of Technology while working every day to support herself at the Star of Siam restaurant in the River North district of Chicago.
Soon after receiving her engineering degree Tammy discovered she was too confined in the corporate world, though her brief stint there allowed her to meet her future husband, Sam Chung. Her creativity and passion insisted she find a more satisfying outlet and so she quickly earned enough money to purchase her first restaurant where her native talents as a chef blossomed, allowing her to significantly improve and augment the Thai recipes she inherited. That strip mall location was the original Siam Marina, where she devoted herself to perfecting her menu and formulating her dream of her second, larger venue, which materialized as the 170-seat Siam Marina II in River Oaks Mall. With Sam Chung as her husband and business partner the couple successfully operated this popular restaurant for almost 20 years before the mall's wrecking ball claimed the building in 2013. All along the way, Tammy's cuisine and martini bar received rave reviews on CHECK, PLEASE! and CHICAGO’S BEST, as well as numerous articles in all major print publications.
In 2007 Tammy's vision of creating a fine dining Asian fusion restaurant materialized in Asparagus, in Merrillville Indiana. There, she and Sam continued expanding the menu, incorporating an ongoing stream of new and innovative drinks and dishes, including a growing number of Vietnamese classics, with significant French and nouvelle cuisine influences. Once again, the couple received rave reviews for this unique fine-dining gem in Northwest Indiana.
Sam ChungSam Chung arrived in the US with his mother and seven of his siblings in the late 70’s. After her death, he and his sister took over parenting the younger siblings while he attended UIC and received his degree in electrical engineering. He went on to work for Sony. He had been managing a department there for some time when Tammy joined the company and began working in his department. The rest, as they say, is history.
Tammy and Sam have a son, Saffion, who is already a talented artist at the age of 11, writing stories, playing piano and cello.