HOUSTON, Texas -- For the women who work at Lena's Asian Kitchen, it's much more than just a job - it's a second chance at a brighter future.
Lena's Asian Kitchen is a healthy meal prep service with a full menu of Asian comfort cuisine. But this Houston business does much more than deliver fresh, pre-cooked meals. It also delivers hope to survivors of domestic violence.
"I provide jobs for domestic abuse survivors, which I am one of them," said Chef Lena Le, owner of Lena's Asian Kitchen. "I feel like a lot of survivors, they feel like they are alone, and so that's why I really want to spread awareness of domestic abuse."
"She gave me the confidence that I need to believe in myself," said Tracey Diehl, who works as a prep cook at Lena's Asian Kitchen. "I'm getting my life back together. I'm moving into my own apartment. I'm getting a vehicle."
"Even when I think, ok, maybe I can't, I just keep going," said Jewel Miller, who works as a pastry chef. "Lena is always supportive and she's always trying to encourage me that I can, I can do it."
Chef Lena Le has been cooking for the past five years, after immigrating to the U.S. from Vietnam in 2015 and then deciding to attend culinary school. Since then, she's worked at prestigious Houston restaurants like Bludorn and even won a James Beard Award. Earlier this year, she decided to open her own meal prep business, focusing on cuisine inspired by her Asian roots.
"Even though I'm Vietnamese, we didn't do only just Vietnamese," said Le. "We do all different kinds of cuisine. We have Korean, Japanese, Thai, Malaysian, Vietnamese, Indian, Lebanese. We have all different kinds of Asian cuisine."
Right now, Lena's Asian Kitchen operates through online orders, but Le says she hopes to open a storefront soon. To check out the menu, visit lenasasiankitchen.com.