Chef Billy Ngo inside his restaurant Kru in Sacramento, CA

Episode 19: The Sushi Prodigy

Sushi is often a high culinary art form and its popularity continues to grow. Since the countries first sushi roll was served in Little Tokyo Los Angeles in the 1960s, is has grown into a multi-billion dollar a year industry. Interest in the cuisine is fueled by creative chefs, who push boundaries and take painstaking steps to ensure the best customer experience.

One example is Billy Ngo, founder, chef and partner of Kru Restaurant in Sacramento, whose innovation and emphasis on quality has garnered loyal customers and rave reviews. As Leilani Marie Labong from SacTown Magazine put it, Billy “has fine-tuned an unofficial M.O. to bring as-yet-uncharted experiences to his hometown.”

Billy’s ascendance as one of the region’s top chefs is remarkable, considering his journey.

“We were very lucky to have the life that I had and the opportunities I had growing up here with my parents coming over here,” he remarked. “My parents are Chinese, but they’re from Vietnam. Born in Vietnam. They had to flee because of the Vietnam War. And my mom was pregnant with me when they got on the boat, escaped, landed in a refugee camp in Hong Kong, and that’s where I was born.”

Billy arrived in Sacramento as a baby, and he admits his early work career was more focused on earning money for stereo equipment than being a top chef. As a teen, he spent many laborious weekends preparing shrimp for later use. Other jobs included busing tables and washing dishes.

However, over time, Billy’s interest in sushi grew. This spark was fueled by his work with high achieving chefs, including Taka Watanabe, Taro Arai and Randall Selland.

Through this experience, he saw changes in how sushi was being presented. From a rigid, predictable menu came food with a flair, and a chance for every chef to roll something amazing and unique.

Chef Billy Ngo rolling sushi inside his restaurant Kru in Sacramento, CA
Chef Billy Ngo rolling sushi inside his restaurant Kru in Sacramento, CA. Photo Brian Baer

He founded Kru Restaurant in 2005, putting optimism over a firm foundation of success. As he put it, “it was all done with band-aids and pennies.” Fortunately, Kru has grown, as more people became enchanted with Billy’s groundbreaking cuisine.

Billy cited using great ingredients as a key, and that includes the foundation of sushi – rice.  In fact, California rice is used in virtually every roll of sushi made in America. Billy gets his rice from grower Michael Bosworth in Yuba County, and said he’s impressed with the sophistication of farming; the scale and hi-tech nature that one must see to fully appreciate.

He has carried forth this approach of sourcing local ingredients, and forging relationships with the farmers and ranchers that grew them.

“We’re so lucky to be in this region in Sacramento with so many things being grown here locally,” he said. “Knowing where it’s coming from and having the relationship with the grower or the rancher or the farmer. Any questions you have, it’s easy.”

Billy said his current priorities are to keep Kru and his other businesses, including the employees, going as reasonably as possible during the COVID-19 restrictions, although he can’t wait for a better day.

“This is so different,” he commented. “I’m very thankful that we’re still able to offer food to-go. But part of the magic and why I fell in love with this industry, is seeing the faces, hearing the sound, hearing the laughs of the dining room and the clang of pans in the kitchen, you miss all that. And I can’t wait for that and I think hopefully soon we’ll have that energy again, inside the building.”

Download Episode

Episode Transcript

Jim Morris: The first sushi served in America was in the 1960s in little Tokyo, Los Angeles. From its humble beginnings here, it is now a powerhouse generating billions of dollars a year. The Sacramento Valley provides virtually all of America’s sushi rice, and this region has some outstanding sushi. Ian Scharg and his family are regular customers at Kru Restaurant.

Ian Scharg: We like the freshness and quality of their food. Everything is very interesting that they make. Sushi is, to us, a form of artwork, fresh fish, and we feel like it’s a healthy choice for lunch or dinner that we like to enjoy as a family.

Jim Morris: Time to take a closer look at sushi and a fascinating chef, Billy Ngo. Welcome to Ingrained, The California Rice Podcast. I’m your host, Jim Morris. Proud to have worked with California farmers and ranchers for more than 30 years to help tell their stories. And along the way, I’ve had the good fortune to visit with culinary icons like Julia Child and Thomas Keller.

Jim Morris: I first met Billy Ngo 14 years ago, and continue to be amazed at his work ethic and pushing culinary boundaries. Billy, do you ever get a chance to sleep?

Billy Ngo: I try to as much as I can. I mean, definitely not 24 anymore when I first opened the restaurant.

Jim Morris: Yeah. You have come a long way since then. So, I want to ask you about the very beginning. And I know you’ve immigrated to America at a very young age. You were from China, then in a Hong Kong refugee camp, and then you came over now to be a star of Japanese cuisine in Northern California. So, from what you’ve heard from your family, can you tell me a little bit about their existence prior to getting to America?

Billy Ngo: Yes. Absolutely. I don’t remember much because when I came over I was a baby, so I don’t remember much. But the stories I hear from my sisters and my parents was, it was a struggle. We were very lucky to have the life that I had and the opportunities I had growing up here with my parents coming over here. So, my parents are Chinese, but they’re from Vietnam. Born in Vietnam. They had to flee because of the Vietnam War. And my mom was pregnant with me when they got on the boat, escaped, landed in a refugee camp in Hong Kong, and that’s where I was born.

Billy Ngo: And then from there, we were able to come to the United States, to America. And just hearing their stories though, just really, really, really grateful and thankful to be here and to be able to have the opportunity to do what I wanted to do. I know it was funny, going along with that whole thing, with the story, you’re like, “Oh, you’re Chinese-Vietnamese doing Japanese food.” But I mean, I joke around with this all the time. Well, the first job I ever had was at a pasta shop, Kru might be a pasta shop.

Billy Ngo: But actually, first job I had was at Fuji’s as a bus boy, and then dishwasher, and then sushi prep. And actually it was just a job at first, but then I actually fell in love with the cuisine.

Jim Morris: So, we’re both from South Sacramento area. I went to Kennedy High School, but I graduated in 1981, when I think you were actually born in 1981. So, tell me about this area. I have a lot of memories about South Sacramento. It’s kind of a gritty, hardworking area. And did that shape you in any way, the fact that where you lived?

Billy Ngo: Oh, definitely. I grew up in South Sac. It wasn’t easy, but a lot of experience growing up in that kind of neighborhood just makes… I don’t know. It makes you a little tougher, a little stronger. It kind of made who I am, I feel like.

Jim Morris: Some of those early jobs, you’ve mentioned some of them, but Fuji, which was a great restaurant, and then Taka’s and Mikuni. Tell me some of those early jobs you had and some of the different things you did in the restaurants.

Billy Ngo: First off, at Fuji’s was actually just being a bus boy. Got a job there as a bus boy/dishwasher. Fuji’s amazing. Wish they were still open. The food was so good there.

Jim Morris: It was awesome.

Billy Ngo: So good. They were around for a long, long time. But just, you get to see how the food scene changed in Sacramento over the last 20 years. Fuji’s was huge. They had a elevator, full bar, they had downstairs, they had upstairs that fit giant parties. But they had this tiny sushi bar that sat seven seats, sushi bar. And it just shows even though Japanese cuisine was really, really popular, sushi wasn’t really popular back then. I think this idea of eating raw fish or whatever it is. And then to see it expand, explode the way it is now, it’s everywhere.

Billy Ngo: And then I think a big part of that was with Taro at Mikuni’s helping blow it up and then making it fun and exciting. And it was really, really cool to have a opportunity to work with Taro’s at Mikuni’s to see what they were doing there. It was very, very outside the box at the time, what they’re doing. And that’s what’s good about the whole culinary scene. Things change, evolve, and then it’s not competition. There’s never bad competition, it’s good competition because it pushes everything, everyone to be better.

Jim Morris: Can you remember the first fish you ever cut, and some of the things you learned from that?

Billy Ngo: First fish would have to be… I would say salmon. That’s the easiest fish, salmon. And then shrimp. People see all the other sushi Ebi. You see at sushi restaurants, the boiled shrimp, it looks so simple, but it’s so much work. At Fuji’s, the first position I got in the sushi bar was just sushi prep. And I remember I had to go in there at 8:00 AM every Saturday, Sunday to prep all the shrimp for the week for the two sushi chefs that was working there.

Billy Ngo: And the shrimp doesn’t come straight like that. They come with their shell on, head, everything you have to… And this was cases of it. You have to sit there and skewer each shrimp so when you boil it, they stay straight. Because otherwise when you cook shrimp, it the curls up, right? So you sit there, you have to skewer hundreds of shrimp, and then you have to boil them, then you have shock it in ice water. Then once it’s cool, then you got to peel it, then devein it, then you got to split them open. And then you have to cure it and then you have to package it, wrap it up. And then, at the time, freeze it and then the sous chefs will pull it out as they need it. And that was done every week.

Billy Ngo: But it was something so simple that… That’s what makes sushi so cool, or hard too, that a lot of people don’t understand. Sometimes like, “Oh, sushi chef. You don’t even cook anything. What do you do?” But a lot of it is what you see being done at the sushi bars, is all the prep’s done. But 95% of the work is done before all that.

Jim Morris: Man, I would have a nightmare about being surrounded by shrimp at night or something like that. So, when did you know you wanted to be a sushi chef and go out on your own?

Billy Ngo: I would have to say when I actually worked at Mikuni’s. I hate to say it, but at first, when I first got the job, it was fun, but it was just a job. I didn’t care. I think I first got my job was 15 and a half with a work permit. And when I was in high school, being the busboy/dishwasher. And then started learning sushi probably right when I graduated high school and I was going to Sac City College. I didn’t care, it was just a job.

Billy Ngo: I was super young, I just wanted to get a paycheck to go hang out and buy parts for my car, buy a stereo system for my car at the time. And I was working at Fuji’s. And I think during that time, Mikuni’s was just opening up Roseville and everybody’s talking about Mikuni’s and sushi. And I had a friend that worked there. Actually, I think they were looking for more staff members because they just opened [inaudible 00:07:12]. I think they were looking to expand some other spots.

Billy Ngo: And he just hit me up. He’s like, “Hey, why don’t you come check out this place? We need sushi chefs. Just come and check it out.” And he got me an interview. And the interview was the craziest interview I ever had because it wasn’t an interview. I got the date and time, I went there, I was ready to sit down, get asked all these questions. They sat me down at the sushi bar, and Taro was working. And he was like, “Hey, what do you like to eat? Do you like to eat this stuff?” And he just started feeding me. And then he was like, “Okay, when do you want to start” And that was it.

Billy Ngo: But then just seeing the ambiance, the atmosphere was really cool because working… I didn’t have much experience in sushi or even food at the time. I grew up really, really, really poor, right? So, we ate a lot of home cooking at home or a lot of junk food. I loved junk food growing up, fast food and all that stuff. So, a lot of stuff was different to me. And was working at Fuji’s, that’s my first experience of Japanese cuisine or seeing how everything was done there.

Billy Ngo: The chefs that I worked with, trained with, were super, super traditional, super old school. And that’s how I had it ingrained in my head. This is how sushi should be. This is how food should be. You need to do it like this. No sauces, nothing. It’s like this. It’s like very formal. And I go here and then all these guys have bandanas, bleached hair, they’re like rock stars, they were like bartenders behind the sushi bar. And everybody looked like they’re having a great time.

Billy Ngo: Seeing all these young people eating or hanging out, then you see the chefs I was like, “This looks fun.” I was like, “Yeah, I want to work here.” And I think that was the turning point and actually working there. It was just seeing all these things. I was like, “What are you guys doing? You guys are putting this hot mayonnaise on this.” And doing all this. It was just different, but then it tasted good. And it was cool. And that’s when my mind kind of opened up. It was like, “Oh, this is actually fun.” And that’s when I was like, “I want to do this.” And I want to learn as much as I can about it, instead of just being a job.”

Jim Morris: And you were at the California Culinary Academy I believe, about 20 years ago? And how did that help the whole process?

Billy Ngo: It was something I wanted to do for myself. I think the culture has changed a lot too in this industry. Everything’s changed a lot, from the food scene to just the culture. I think back then it was crazy, it was really hard. I mean, doing it ourselves, but back then there was no iPhones with cameras on it, there was no Instagram or all this stuff or YouTube. So, back then, it was really hard.

Billy Ngo: You really had to learn what you needed to learn by working under chefs, or you wanted to see what a chef or another restaurant’s doing, you literally have to drive there or fly there and make a reservation, eat there, and then take notes in your little notebook. Probably at that time, I just wanted to learn as much as I can, to be as good as possible, bounce around, work in different places.

Billy Ngo: And at one point, I just felt stuck and I couldn’t… It was hard to learn too at the time. A lot of chefs were still old school. They don’t really teach or whatever it is. Why? I don’t know. Job security, whatever it is. You usually just get stuck doing the same thing at each place. And I just felt I wanted to get better and I wanted to learn how to cook as well, not just do sushi. So, I went to culinary school.

Jim Morris: I think one of the formative things that occurred to you early on, was working at The Kitchen with Randall Selland, which is an excellent restaurant in Sacramento. Tell me about that experience.

Billy Ngo: It was really cool. It opened my eyes there. I think right before I went off to culinary school, I had dinner there. Taka actually bought me dinner there for my birthday right before I went off to culinary school. Going there blew my mind what they were doing. And it was fun, but it was super serious. And I remember after dinner, I talked to Randall. I was like, “Hey, I’m going to culinary school. I’m moving going to be back in Sacramento 16 months. I have to do internship. I would love to do it here.”

Billy Ngo: He said, “You just come back here when you’re ready, when you’re done.” And I took him up on the offer. Came back, worked with him, internship for three months. And I ended up staying I think another six more months after that to work with them. And there, just learned the importance of ingredients. They never skipped on quality at the kitchen. They only wanted to bring in the best and treat it the best. And their relationships with their farmers and purveyors was awesome, seeing that interaction.

Billy Ngo: Because working at a lot of these other old school restaurants I worked in before, some of them… Restaurants ultimately is a business, but everything’s a business, down from the farmers, to the ranchers, to your purveyors. And I always see some of the old chefs or owners I worked with, they like to haggle with prices, this and that. And working at The Kitchen, I learned that I’ve never seen them haggle. All they would say is, “Just make sure you give us the best.”

Billy Ngo: And that was the big thing I’ve learned is everybody needs to make a living. If you’re going to haggle about stuff, it should be about the quality, not the price. And that’s a big thing for me that I learned from there. You get what you pay for. You should never, ever haggle. And then good cuisine, good food starts with good ingredients.

Jim Morris: I’m going to ask you a little more about working with local farmers in just a moment. But first, I’m visiting with Michael Bosworth, rice grower in Yuba County, who supplies Billy his rice. And Michael, how long has that happened? And tell me a little bit about your friendship and working relationship with Billy.

Michael Bosworth: We’ve been supplying Billy since 2006, and that’s the year that we started direct marketing our rice. He was our first customer, I think Randall Selland at The Kitchen was our second customer. It’s been a great relationship over the years. We’ve worked with Billy at Kru and then also on all of his other restaurant ventures.

Michael Bosworth: I’ve learned a lot from him. We actually transitioned from supplying him organic medium-grain rice, to organic Calacarri short-grain rice, because he wanted to elevate the food that he’s doing and we wanted to help him do that. So, it’s been really great to work with him and we’ve all learned a lot. Because we’re at that same age and kind of started getting going 15, 16 years ago. And so, it’s been great just to watch him grow as an entrepreneur and a restaurateur. And his food was always amazing and it just keeps getting better and better. And so, it’s great to be working with somebody that is constantly striving to improve.

Jim Morris: What’s your favorite dish at Kru?

Michael Bosworth: That’s really tough. He has a really great sushi roll that’s kind of off-menu called the Ziggy Roll. It’s wrapped with soy paper. Obviously has some really good rice in it, avocado, soft-shell crab, and fish eggs. So, yeah. It’s really great. And it’s just one of my favorite things. The texture components are awesome, the flavor’s really great. So, yeah. That’s my go-to.

Jim Morris: So Billy, you have taken the effort to go to the farms directly and seeing how it’s grown. Michael Bosworth in particular with rice, that’s a key ingredient in sushi. How important is it to understand how that is produced, and to get the best quality for what you’re doing?

Billy Ngo: I think it’s very important. And we’re so lucky to be in this region in Sacramento with so many things being grown here locally, and just knowing where it’s coming from and having the relationship with the grower or the rancher or the farmer. Any questions you have, it’s easy. You’re not talking to a rep.

Jim Morris: What’s your first impression when you saw the rice farm? I mean, when I take people out for tours, their mouth is normally open about the space that is involved, the technology. What were some of your observations?

Billy Ngo: I would say exactly the same thing. Blew my mind the whole process of how huge the fields are and even the technology, the GPS, everything that’s going into it. I just thought it was a big pond. But seeing how everything operates, it’s really, really cool.

Jim Morris: And it’s really important to be as efficient as you can in a place like California with land values and other factors, the water situation, so that the growers do a great job with their efficiency. Before we learn more about the restaurant, its dishes, and even a discussion about fast food, I wanted to talk with another top chef in Sacramento to get his impression of Billy Ngo.

Jim Morris: I’m visiting with Patrick Mulvaney, one of the outstanding chefs in the Sacramento region, a pillar of farm-to-fork, somebody very passionate about what he does. And that also seems to feed Billy Ngo. Tell me a little bit about your experience with Billy.

Patrick Mulvaney: Well, we love Billy’s food, right? And it’s just so great to be going… We call Kru the chefs restaurant, right? Because you go, not only is Billy welcoming and all his staff bring you in, but what you see is a lot of chefs who are off work, who want to go somewhere for really good food, clean, and not have to ask for what you’re looking for. Billy is probably one of the kindest, most gentle chefs that I know. Always gracious with everyone that he goes to.

Patrick Mulvaney: Sometimes when I come into the restaurant with my daughter, he’ll bring out a little appetizer for us and usually has some kind of shellfish, which I’m allergic to. And he’ll put it down in front of me and say, “Oh, I’m sorry, you can’t eat that.” And my daughter immediately grabs it from me and says, “That’s quite all right, we’ll have another.”

Jim Morris: Billy, Let’s talk about Kru. You opened the restaurant in 2005. What does that name mean?

Billy Ngo: It means raw in French, but with C so we just changed it to a K. A lot of the guys that worked with me when we first opened the restaurant, we’ve been friends for years. The whole staff. When we would get off work so, we always hit up these places with a group of five of us or seven. So it was kind of like the crew. And then when we opened the restaurant, that was like the crew, crew. So, that and [inaudible 00:16:40]. That’s what the meaning behind it is.

Billy Ngo: And also I wanted a French word because it is sushi, but we impact so many other techniques and cuisines into our food too. We just wanted to make really good food.

Jim Morris: The old location was a different atmosphere, a great one, but a different atmosphere than what you have at this new location. And I remember coming in several years back and John C. Reilly was sitting in there. I don’t know if you remember that, but…

Billy Ngo: I do remember that, but I can’t remember… I was just so star struck. I remember you were still in there that time that… yeah, it was really cool to have him sitting right there in the corner table.

Jim Morris: I wanted it to say hello, and I was too chicken to do that. Do you have a favorite John C. Reilly movie?

Billy Ngo: I love all his movies, actually.

Jim Morris: I’ll name a few and tell me if you like these. Talladega Nights was awesome and Chicago, which was way different, but that was great too.

Billy Ngo: Yeah. Oh yeah. Well, it was funny meeting him in person because he was so chill instead of… It was completely different than what I thought he would be like. But it was awesome having him in.

Jim Morris: So this new location of Kru, it feels very big city to me. What were some of the goals as you got the restaurant together that you wanted to accomplish?

Billy Ngo: That restaurant was the first location. Opened that place when I was 24 years old, crazy budget. I don’t even know how we did it. To think of it now, how we opened that place up. It was all done with band-aids and pennies. And to be here, I’m really grateful and thankful. We wanted a space that matched the food and also a bigger kitchen for us to make the food even better.

Jim Morris: Tell me about the dishes that are here at Kru. How much are planned, how much are kind of freelance and what are some of your goals? Because there are some pretty interesting combinations of food that you offer.

Billy Ngo: The factual food is just a combination of everything that I like. And just me growing up in Sacramento, California, being a Chinese-Vietnamese immigrant, that’s what culinary school learned classical French, but then worked in a Japanese restaurants, but then ate Chinese food and Vietnamese food at home. But loved happy meals McDonald’s and stuff like that. So, we just want to do a really, really good food, but still adhering to what the basis should be in the sushi.

Billy Ngo: But the small plates want to do really cool stuff, utilizing local ingredients, pushing the boundaries. And wouldn’t be here to this day without the team, from employees of past and present. Everybody really helped to turn this place into what it is.

Jim Morris: The Sunshine Roll, I think is one of the most popular that has apples in it as well. Tell me a little bit about that roll.

Billy Ngo: I would say a signature dish for the sushi bar, it would be that roll because that’s our top selling roll, but it’s kind of what we do. When you read the ingredient lists, a lot of people are like, “What’s your favorite roll? What do you suggest?” I’ll suggest that roll. Wow, that seems like a lot. But it’s sounds a lot when you read it, but you can really taste all the ingredients. You can taste apple, you taste lemon, you got to taste spicy tuna, there’s fried leaks, there’s cilantro, there’s fish. It’s not just the mesh, it’s cool because there’s a lot ingredients, a lot of textures, a lot of flavors, but you can actually taste each one.

Jim Morris: So sushi, correct me if I’m wrong, literally means vinegared rice. So how important is rice in the equation?

Billy Ngo: This is something that a lot of people don’t know and understand. They think of sushi and the first thing you think about this raw fish. But even the word sushi is straight up means rice and vinegar. Rice is the most important ingredient in sushi. You can’t have a good sushi without good rice. And then sushi is without the rice and then the fish is [inaudible 00:20:11] or, I mean, compliments to really… In Japan, sous chefs have to learn for years, you just have to wash and make the rice and prep veggies, before putting stuff together. So the rice it’s very, very important, most important that a lot of people forget about.

Jim Morris: So tell me about some of your other ventures, everything from dog food to other restaurants. You’re a busy guy. Tell me about some of those please.

Billy Ngo: We have Kodaiko Ramen, a ramen shop in downtown, then we have Fish Face Poke Bar, and then we have Healthy Hounds Kitchen, where we actually do human grade dog food. All these restaurants, I just want to do projects that I feel that actually could help the community instead of just opening another business, just to open the business, just to do something. If you already have something, we don’t need to do it. That’s how I think about business-wise like Healthy Hounds.

Billy Ngo: We all love our pets. Our animals are like our kids, so we want to do something really good food for the pups. And it’s fun doing that project too, because even the dog food I work with Michael on the rice, and we use his rice there too.

Jim Morris: It has been a difficult time with COVID and restaurants have been really hard hit in terms of the businesses that have really had some challenges. So, tell me a little bit about that and some of your priorities and staying open, and you have dozens of people that work for you too.

Billy Ngo: Yeah. I think that the biggest priority was actually just trying to keep as many of our staff employed as possible. And then at some of the other business was a little harder than others. Kru, we’re very fortunate, we’ve been here for 15 years, we have a very loyal following, we’re very, very thankful for that. And just even just doing our to-go business was good enough to keep a lot of our staff employed. That was the main goal.

Billy Ngo: And the other places that were like Kodaiko we just opened that very new. And even that area got hit very hard with Golden 1 not being open and all the venues, so many places closing. And over there, the goal there was to keep our managers employed, but there’s no way to not lose money. It’s just lose as little money as possible, but don’t close the shop down. You want to… I don’t want to go induced coma. I was like, just go to sleep, have a heartbeat, but don’t die.

Jim Morris: How much will you rejoice when things are much, much better? And hopefully that day is coming soon.

Billy Ngo: I can’t wait. This is so different. Putting food in boxes, very thankful that we’re still able to do that to-go. But part of the magic and why I fell in love with this industry, is seeing the faces, hearing the sound, hearing the laughs of the dining room and the clang of pans in the kitchen, you miss all that. And I can’t wait for that and I think hopefully soon we’ll have that energy again, inside the building.

Jim Morris: I can tell you have a lot of compassion. So, tell me what drives you because you work a lot, you have a lot of different business endeavors, and you keep charging up that hill. So, what motivates you?

Billy Ngo: I just want to keep pushing, do good. And before younger had a lot of energy, but now I see so many people working with such great employees and team members. And like I said, Kru would that be the way it is or where it’s at without employees of the past and present. And then you see a lot of people with so much talent and stuff, you can see the next generation. And now I want to keep pushing, keep doing cool things to help the next generation if they want to open a restaurant or do this, or be the best chef.

Jim Morris: So we’re doing this interview outside with masks and distance outside of Kru. And I can see another sushi sign, just a few feet away. So, the popularity of sushi is that going to change? Do you think it’s going to continue to grow?

Billy Ngo: I think it’ll continue to grow, because it’s just such a different food and the social aspect of the experience, is really fun and just the food it’s anything you want. It could be really healthy for you, or it could just make a roll with cream cheese and deep fry it, and then it’ll be delicious. It’s anything you want to get this it’s just so vast I don’t think it’s going away anywhere.

Jim Morris: And you mentioned healthy and things that might not be fully healthy. So, you have to tell me what’s your go-to junk food?

Billy Ngo: I’d say Mexican food, Jimboy’s. It killed me when there was a Jimboy’s right here on 20th street. They had a drive-through and I used to hit that up multiple times a week on the way to work. And when they closed, it broke my heart.

Jim Morris: Oh yeah. Jimboy’s is the best. And for those that aren’t in this area, they have the cheese on the outside. It’s just a little greasy, actually it’s way greasy, but it’s awesome. So, have you ever had a Happy Meal or a Big Mac or what are some of the other favorites?

Billy Ngo: I just had a quarter pounder a few days ago.

Jim Morris: Yeah.

Billy Ngo: I’m a junk food King.

Jim Morris: You got to live.

Billy Ngo: Yeah. But also I live also one thing is too, that I’m sure a lot of people don’t know, but finding out more now, there’s a lot of these chefs they don’t like to cook for themselves. We do all this cooking and prepping at work, when we get off, we want something quick. We’ll throw a hot pocket in the microwave or stop by McDonald’s and we just want to scarf that thing down and then lay down.

Jim Morris: That will wrap up this episode. Thank you to Michael Bosworth, Ian Scharg, Patrick Mulvaney and of course, Billy Ngo for his time and expertise. Remember, you can find out more and listen to past episodes at We welcome your comments. Thanks for listening.