Lien Nguyen’s Poop Café aims to be a stinking success

Culinary graduate draws on George Brown experience for unusual café

Just like Las Vegas, what happens in the bathroom typically stays in the bathroom. But a new poop-themed café, set to open on Bloor Street this September, is breaking the rules while chasing Toronto’s culinary throne.

The reaction to Poop Café, the brainchild of Lien Nguyen, a graduate of the culinary management program at George Brown, has been extreme. Nguyen said she receives many messages on Facebook from people wishing her luck.

There have also been negative responses, like a comment on the café’s Facebook page which reads “making food look like shit is not cooking! It’s being childish, fetishistic, repugnant and shows incredibly bad culinary skills! Incredibly bad!”

Nguyen is using reactions like these as fuel. “They call you at night and say bad things but that motivates me to prove them wrong,” she said.

Nguyen arrived in Canada from Vietnam in 2010. She remembers growing up in the food business, as most of her family was involved in some form of the culinary arts. After initially managing her own venture in custom-made pillows, she began to experiment with all kinds of food until she fell in love with cooking. This love led her to enrol in the culinary management program at George Brown.

Two years ago, on a trip to see her mother in Taiwan, Nguyen said that she accidentally visited a poop-themed café. The poop-shaped desserts served on toilet seats first embarrassed Nguyen, but she came to understand that the theme is about having fun and satisfying customers. “If you do good with the food and concept, customers will come back,” she said.

Nguyen is busy finalizing the design and menu of her café. Her aim is to create desserts shaped like poop which will be served in specially designed toilet and bathtub shaped bowls. With multiple media outlets profiling the café, Nguyen is anxious to live up to the expectations.

The aspiring entrepreneur is proud of her time at George Brown. She believes her program helped her learn not just cooking, but also the management side of running a café. “Everything I learned from there, I apply in this business,” she said.

“I always saw some talent inside her and encouraged her to open her own business,” said George Brown chef Vi Van Lam. While she was not his student, she always sought his help with desserts and he believes The Poop Café will be one of a kind in Canada.

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Lien Nguyen’s Poop Café aims to be a stinking success