Local Cambodian chef Visoth Tarak Ouk, well-known as Chef T, officially purchased Cambodian Restaurant Week from co-founder Terri Henry this week.

Henry was the primary organizer of the event, which had its inaugural week in March of this year. Restaurant weeks are intended to boost sales and draw more attention to local eateries by offering limited-time discounts and special menus while spotlighting the city’s diverse cuisine options.

The event, which included the logo design, mailing lists, a website and a pending trademark, sold for $1, the same amount she recently sold Black Restaurant Week for, Henry said on Monday.

Chef T helped the event come together earlier this year and worked to get restaurants to participate, as well as other vendors like tattoo artists and candle makers.

Next year’s event, planned for March, will be bigger and better than ever, Ouk said.

For him, the acquisition just made sense. He was already working on organizing an Asian Food Festival and Carnival with the Cambodian Consulate and Long Beach City College set for January 2024.

“I’m getting like half of the town already signed up already,” Ouk said. “I just went out there and started begging people, like come on, let’s go.”

The upcoming festival will celebrate Long Beach’s Cambodian scene, which has been Ouk’s mission since he began his culinary journey. It’s why his first cookbook, “Kroeung: Cambodian Cooking with Chef T,” tied together recipes for Cambodian dishes while exploring his journey from Cambodian refugee, to gang member to chef.

His new cookbook, “Prahok,” will be released this December and follow a similar style. The book is named for a particular fermented fish paste, which is a Cambodian staple that was born out of a need to preserve fish for long periods of time.

“It’s kind of like dying and coming back. So, the fish is fermenting, and then now all of a sudden we use it to revive it, come back alive,” Ouk said.

The biographical part of the cookbook will explore what it’s been like after achieving success—graduating college and Le Cordon Bleu, a prestigious culinary school, television appearances on shows on like Food Network’s “Supermarket Stakeout” and more.

But Ouk isn’t done yet. In addition to buying Cambodian Restaurant Week, launching the cookbook and working on organizing community events, Ouk is currently pursuing a master’s degree in culinary business management. The plan is to use the skills he learns with that degree to ultimately open his own fine-dining Cambodian restaurant.

“Everybody does street food,” Ouk said. “I need to be me. I think my core is always with the finer things. And that makes me truly happy.”

Cambodian Restaurant Week will be March 24 to 31 next year. For updates, check here.