Wayne Nguyen


Wayne Nguyen is the chef and owner of Maba Pan-Asian Diner in Midtown. Wayne was born in Saigon, Vietnam. He came to the United States in 1981 and resided in San Francisco, California. His first exposure to cooking was as a child in his mother’s kitchen. One of his favorite things to do with his mother was going to the Farmers’ Market in front of San Francisco’s City Hall and watching cooking shows by Jacques Pepin, Jeff Smith and Martin Yan on PBS. These chefs along with the American cuisine heavily influenced Wayne; however, his heritage comes out in the food he cooks.

Wayne went to school in Texas and graduated from The University of Texas with a degree in Finance. His early career was in financial services. In 2002, he met and married his wife, Tammy and had two children, Julia and Reagan. Together, they started a real estate investment company and expanded the family Chinese fast drive thru chain. In 2016, Wayne launched a new restaurant, Maba Pan-Asian Diner.

Before Maba had a physical home, Wayne was the featured chef at the International LuckyRice Festival in October, 2016 in Houston where there were long lines for Maba’s pork won tons drizzled with Vietnamese fish sauce. It did not take long for foodies and critics to discover Maba. By its third month, Maba was written by The Houston Chronicle, CultureMap, Houston Press, My Table and Forbes Travel Guide. Alison Cook, the food critic for The Houston Chronicle, labeled Maba “an oasis of casual chic” and referred it as one of the best restaurants in the city with a three star review. Maba Pan-Asian Diner ranked No. 11 in The Houston Chronicle’s Top 100 Restaurants and named as one of Houston’s 2017 best new restaurants.

Wayne is a board member of KNOWAutism, a non-profit to help families with children affected by autism. He is also a visiting chef at Culinary Program at the HUB School. He frequently participates in fundraising events such as Recipe for Success and Houston Chronicle Culinary Stars as a way to give back to the community.

Wayne enjoys reading architectural and design magazines, watching history and science network and swimming with his children.