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New Kybecca chef Wade Truong (right) seasons a salmon dish while cook Seth Cox prepares vegetables.
PETER CIHELKA/THE FREE LANCE-STAR
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BY BILL FREEHLING
A former University of Mary Washington student who has worked at restaurants for most of his life has helped transform the menu at Kybecca Wine Bar in downtown Fredericksburg.
Wade Truong was hired in July as Kybecca's new executive chef. He replaced Kyle Snyder, who is now pursuing other opportunities.
Truong's hiring as executive chef coincided with business co-owner Rebecca Thomas' return to the William Street restaurant. Thomas took about 16 months off from day-to-day operations at Kybecca to travel and have fun. Her brother, Matt Thomas, is also a partner in the business.
Together, Rebecca Thomas and Truong have transformed the menu. While Kybecca has focused mostly on small-plate, appetizer-style fare throughout most of its four-year history, it has now added more large-plate dinner entrees while retaining the tapas offerings. Customer feedback has been positive.
Truong has worked at Kybecca since March 2011, when he left his previous job at Bistro Bethem across the street in order to take on a management role. Before becoming executive chef he had a variety of roles at Kybecca including managing the wine shop and working on marketing.
Truong's parents are from Vietnam. For many years they ran a Vietnamese restaurant in Harrisonburg called Saigon Cafe. Truong spent most of his middle school and high school years helping out his parents at the restaurant.
He started working at Bistro Bethem while studying economics at UMW between 2003 and 2006. He ultimately left UMW about a year before graduating to focus on his career. While at Bistro he had a number of jobs inside the kitchen and out. He gained a reputation as a talented bartender and developed a number of specialty cocktails.
Truong has brought some of his Vietnamese heritage to the Kybecca menu. For example a recent weekly special was a duck-boar spring roll. He also has experience with butchering, hunting and farming.
Thomas said Truong shares her viewpoints on food. The pair both use the word "honest" when describing the type of cuisine they favor. That means serving fare in which the quality of the ingredients speak for themselves. They put together a new list of specials every week. Whenever possible they use local food.
The pair aren't done transforming Kybecca. They plan changes in the months ahead including adding bar offerings and new cocktails to the mix.
"It's a really fun time to be here right now," Thomas said.
Bill Freehling: 540/374-5405