International Womens Day

Katherine Lam: Stirring Up Success

As we celebrate International Women’s Day, meet Katherine Lam, president and co-owner of Bambuza Vietnam Kitchen in Portland, Ore. She is part of our Portland Women Stir the Pot event on March 13. Here is her story.
Katherine Lam
Katherine Lam: Stirring Up Success

National Restaurant Association

Katherine Lam may be 4-foot-11, but she has a big impact on everyone!

For 10 years, the president and co-owner of five-unit Bambuza Vietnam Kitchen has worked with her husband, Daniel, to give guests authentic, affordable food, while raising two young daughters.

Lam immigrated to the United States with her parents, and always dreamed of being an entrepreneur. The restaurant industry seemed to be a natural fit. Always responsible, she took care of the family’s bills, buying groceries and preparing meals from an early age.

“My mom always joked about how determined I was. I kept telling her that when I grew up I wanted to be a woman entrepreneur. I never said I wanted to be an engineer or doctor. I always said I wanted to be a businesswoman. Everything I do that’s related to customer service, leadership or planning makes me feel good,” she says.

She says she tells her children that her job is to make sure they have options in life, that they should pursue whatever they believe in or enjoy doing. She gives the same advice to her employees. “If you enjoy something and put your heart and soul into it, it will show through in your product.”

That thinking drives her success. “Every day, every year I’m always thinking about how I can maximize what I do,” she says. “I look around and think we provide jobs for 80 to 90 people. That is a responsibility, but also a joy. I make sure I take care of my staff, their families and our customers, who come back year after year.”

Lam also says she makes sure the staff, which is predominantly female, takes initiative and strives for leadership responsibilities.

“I always try to push them out of their comfort zones. I tell them it’s OK to make mistakes. I say be comfortable in stepping up. If you fail, do better the next time. Believing you can do it is the key.”

To learn more about Bambuza Vietnam Kitchen, visit

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