One of them being my interview with Michael Krondl, the food historian. Ted sponsored hundreds of visas for incoming refugees and helped them get on their feet teaching them the ways of the donut business. He wanted to be with her, but he had no one else to manage the shop. EN. Despite her sheltered life and being forbidden from having friends or leaving the house other than for school, Suganthini fell in love. What is Ted up to in Cambodia nowadays?Ted is doing well. Ted Ngoy was a high school student in Phnom Penh when he first set eyes on Suganthini Khoeun, the daughter of a high-ranking government official. In 1985, Ngoy and his wife became American citizens assuming the American names of Ted and Christy, respectively, and were enjoying a lavish lifestyle including a million dollar home at Lake Mission Viejo, a vacation home in Big Bear, expensive cars, and vacations to Europe. Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders have posted lower infection rates compared to other racial and ethnic groups but make up about 19% of deaths from COVID-19. Ngoy spent a total of 45 days in the mansion before being discovered by Suganthini's parents and subsequently kicked out. Christy was in the front and made a lot of inroads with the community and built a lot of bridges. The second time Ted came back to California, Chet took all this time off of work, took him to his timeshare in Oceanside and drove his dad around all over Southern California. Ngoy built a vast donut shop empire across California and it started in 1970s Orange County. Alice Gu’s film introduces us to Ted Ngoy, a refugee who escaped from a hellish, war-torn country in 1975, came to the U.S. with no money or friends. He was raised by his mother, who was from Shantou, Guangdong, and who only spoke Chinese. He was raised by his mother, who was from Shantou, Guangdong, and who only spoke Chinese. Ted Ngoy Realty Then things were thriving. One night, Ngoy devised a plan to sneak into the heavily guarded mansion that housed Suganthini, allowing the couple to meet for the first time. Is there anything that you left on the cutting room floor that you still think about?There are a lot of things that I still think about on the cutting room floor. He not only made a success of himself; he shared his good fortune with scores of relatives and friends. How did those scenes end up happening?I asked him to travel to California again. Ted and a lot of the Asians who came aligned themselves with the Republican party. Cancel 0 Cart 0 items in shopping cart. He would have no more donuts to sell so he could be with his wife for the rest of the day. Also, significantly for Ngoy, other Cambodian refugees and their children — donuts. Ted's story is one of fate, love, survival, hard knocks, and redemption. Support our coverage by becoming a digital subscriber. It was on the market. These are kids who are American educated. Santa Ana’s LibroMobile will host its third Literary Arts Festival on Jan. 23 through Instagram. He suggested that Ted hang out in the back and to put Christy in the front. Ngoy's gambling had progressed from the card tables to placing bets on sports games with Cambodian bookies. Something else about Orange County that I found so beautiful and touching while we were making this film, there was a man who owned a donut shop in Seal Beach and his wife was stricken with cancer. Irvine settles lawsuit that accused former Irvine mayor of violating a resident’s 1st Amendment rights. As Orange County expands its vaccine distribution, UC Irvine researchers are developing a vaccine that could prevent coronavirus outbreaks in the future. It actually made national, if not international, news about the kindness of these people in Orange County. Designers Andrew Hem and Charlie Le were awarded a SWSW Film special jury recognition for their poster design of “The Donut King” in 2020. He married Stephanie Ngoy, whose brother was one of Ted Ngoy’s first pioneers, and the couple ran two doughnut shops. Suganthini's parents and cousins hid behind curtains in the home to ensure Ngoy would break off the relationship. He says to me, “Alice, making money — it’s so easy. There were some hurt relationships. This caused tension in the Ngoy household, being the center of many arguments between Ngoy and his wife. He is wealthy again. A map of Christy’s Donuts, Winchell’s and Dunkin Donuts across California during the height of Ted Ngoy’s entrepreneurship in the 1970s through the 1990s. People made fun of his accent. When he was unable to pay back his debt, he would sign over his store to them. Upon his return to Orange County, Ngoy began gambling harder than ever stating "Monks cannot help me, Buddha cannot help me. nonprofits have responded to the impact of COVID-19 on Asian American seniors and business owners. He said he’s Chinese Cambodian and we spoke Mandarin for a couple of minutes. The premise of family in the film is how hard your parents work and the sacrifices they make so that you can have a life better than they did. This is an incredible story of how he helped people. It was here that Ngoy had his first taste of gambling while placing bets at the Blackjack tables. He did not fare well in either the 1993 or 1998 parliamentary elections, but his friend, Prime Minister Hun Sen, made him an advisor on commerce and agriculture. His story has been told through different angles in a couple of articles. At his peak, Ngoy owned 65 shops and his wealth was estimated at US$20 million. When you first reached out to Ted, it was a cold call. Photo: Los Angeles Times … It's the rags to riches story of a refugee escaping Cambodia, arriving in America in 1975 and building an unlikely multi-million-dollar empire baking America's favorite pastry, the donut. Then he opened his first independent shop in La Habra, eventually covering the rest of O.C. After cry, go back gambling." , Ngoy secured work as a janitor with Peace Lutheran Church in Tustin, California. Somewhere along the line, things shifted. Ngoy proved to be a shrewd businessman — he’d been a payroll specialist in the army — and by 1979 he owned 25 shops and was on his way to becoming a legend. Ted Ngoy arrived in California with the American Dream in his heart. He writes about his extraordinary journey. In doing the research and finding that it was President [Gerald] Ford who issued the executive order to receive the refugees, a Republican president — that was a huge surprise to me given that during the time that we were making this film we were hearing Donald Trump’s rhetoric. MEET ''TED NGOY'' If you walk into a doughnut shop in California, the chances are it's owned by a Cambodian family. There’s also the moment where Ted revisits his former home in Mission Viejo. If you’ve ever enjoyed a donut that came from a pink box, you have Cambodian refugee Ted Ngoy to thank. Ngoy … TimesOC e-Newspaper: Sunday, Jan. 17, 2021. ", After the establishment of a constitutional monarchy in 1993, Ngoy returned to Cambodia for the country's first elections. He lost everything and had to start from scratch. He was very surprised that anybody would find him and want to tell his stories. That phrase “Donut King” is already so eye-catching right off the bat. Ted Ngoy was born in the Cambodian village of Sisophon near the country's border with Thailand. That was super mind blowing for me to hear the political flip-flop and really insightful about another time when politics were more civil and there could be discussion. Like everyone else, Orange County Asian Americans have struggled to adjust to the new reality brought on by the coronavirus pandemic. , Ngoy bought additional doughnut shops in Orange County. I am the child of immigrants who came and moved here for the American dream. She divorced him soon after and has not since returned to Cambodia. Which donut shop do you find yourself going back to for the sake of eating a donut?I had my out of body experience at DK’s Donuts and Bakery in Santa Monica. More than 6,600 people have signed an online petition demanding the resignation of a Placentia-Yorba Linda school board member who was present at a rally that led to the siege of the U.S. Capitol. To think about what Ted did years ago — letting bygones be bygones. The other discovery for me was what I called Donut Generation 2.0, the kids who go to take over the parents’ mom and pop shops. He tasted his first donut at a Tustin gas station, trained as a baker in a La Mirada Winchell’s and ran his own Winchell’s store in the Balboa Peninsula. She grew up in Boyle Heights and graduated from Cal State Northridge with a bachelor’s in literature and a minor in journalism. 2,912 likes. He saw an opportunity to expand his business and help the large number of poor, unassimilated Cambodians who had fled the Khmer Rouge to the United States. He soon desired to open his own donut shop. She got her start as an editorial assistant delivering mail and newspapers. Ted Ngoy and I couldn’t be farther apart. After several years of hard work, the family took their first holiday and they went to Las Vegas. Interestingly, largely because of Democratic policy we got a grant for our camera and it came from this girl, who was the daughter of Vietnamese refugees who landed in Arkansas. Shortly after reiterating what he was forced to say, he admitted that what was said was a lie and stabbed himself in the stomach. You just have to see the opportunity and go for it.” Those are the wise words of Ted Ngoy. Through the maneuvering of his brother-in-law, chief of police and briefly future president of Cambodia, Sak Sutsakhan, Ngoy was promoted to the rank of major and appointed military attache at Cambodia's embassy in Thailand. In this condensed and edited conversation, Gu talks about the American dream, Cambodian American Republicans, 1970s Orange County and the best donut she ate during filming. Ted Ngoy on IMDb: Movies, Tv, Celebrities, and more... Oscars Best Picture Winners Best Picture Winners Golden Globes Emmys STARmeter Awards San Diego Comic-Con New York Comic-Con Sundance Film Festival Toronto Int'l Film Festival Awards Central Festival Central All Events Ted Ngoy (born Bun Tek Ngoy; 1942) is a Cambodian American entrepreneur and former owner of a chain of doughnut shops in California. Ngoy attempted Gambler's Anonymous, but denies its help with his situation stating that when he went to meetings "I cry, everybody cry. Ngoy and his family enjoyed the fruits of their labor and at one point moved into a 7,000-square-foot mansion in Mission Viejo. What was it like?I spoke with him and he was in Cambodia. He would forge her signature on checks and even borrow money from relatives who leased stores from him. For a year and a half, I struggled with how I was going to get access to that Mission Viejo mansion. I can’t take credit for it, but I do feel like in the making of this film and having some of these people face feelings that they hadn’t confronted in many years, it was very healing. I could have made a special piece just on the history of donuts. Interviews can sometimes feel like a therapy session. , In 2013, he was living in Phnom Penh working in the real estate business. It really helped put some perspective on the journey to get here from somewhere else and the struggles that people go through when they arrive in a new, strange and foreign land. Doing this film was really an exploration for me of understanding where you come from. The film follows an immigrant tale of the American dream through Bun Tek “Ted” Ngoy, a Cambodian refugee whose charmed life is full of war, romance, entrepreneurship, racism and a caution about greed. There’s so much competition. Ted's son Christy Ngoy tells a story about the disappearance of a paper bag full of $85,000 while his father was in police custody. Help might be on the way. What new information did you learn in the making of the film?There was a lot that was new to me. The same goes for if you’ve been to California and tasted a donut from one of the many shops owned by many other Cambodian refugees like Ngoy, who have proven over time to be a top competitor with the likes of Dunkin’ Donuts and Starbucks. These are all people who present day you don’t associate with welcoming refugees with open arms. Ted Ngoy is from Cambodia, and his story starts and ends here. By 1980, Ted Ngoy owned 20 Christy’s shops in Southern California. Some of the interviews in the film seemed that way.It was actually really wonderful to speak with particularly his older kids Chet and Savy, who until that interview, they didn’t have much to do with him. I’ve never experienced hunger, war, fear, served in an army, or had a wet and cold bed to sleep in. He also sponsored more than 100 Cambodian refugee families and established a path of financial opportunity for them in America. Since then her writing has appeared in Calendar, Lifestyle, Metro and Sports sections of the paper. He’s really funny. He subsequently received training through an affirmative action program to increase donut hiring within the Winchell's chain of doughnut shops, and managed a store in Newport Beach where he employed his wife ted nephew. That is because I had a buttermilk bar about 30 seconds out of the fryer with fresh glaze on it. He became tired running doughnut shops on his own and decided to train and lease shops to his relatives and employ Cambodian refugees. They have social media and know how to work it to innovate their parents’ old donut shops with a worldwide following. TimesOC’s e-newspaper includes all six pages of Sunday’s coverage of Orange County. Following his time in the nation's capital, Ngoy spent time in a monastery in the Thai countryside where he spent his morning begging for alms. His secret: hard work in the extreme, a willingness to learn, and sheer determination. To understand the politics, the Republican party at the time was a very anticommunist party. Did working on this film change or contribute to your perspective of the American dream or immigrant stories?It seems like these days the American dream is harder and harder to attain. He wrote a book called “The Donut: History, Recipes, and Lore from Boston to Berlin” and he gave really fascinating insights into donut culture, history and our relationship to donuts in America. UC Irvine library highlights materials from I-Ching to Astro Boy in its East Asian Collection. Ted Ngoy "The Donut King" Interview by Isabelle Cheam at Cambodia Town Culture Festival on April 8th, 2018. Ngoy built a vast donut shop empire across California and it started in 1970s Orange County. They’re savvy, young, hip. When he was working in the donut shop, he went to his sponsor and said he was having a hard time. I ended up not sharing that donut. I thought it was so profound that this was the very same community that just a couple of decades earlier were making fun of somebody who worked at the counter and had an accent. Ngoy also involved himself in American politics, joining the Republican Party and hosting fundraisers for George H.W. In 1975, a Cambodian refugee named Ted Ngoy and his family arrived in Southern California penniless. In our very first phone call, he asked if I was American and I told him that I was Chinese American. The Donut King who went full circle – from rags to richesIf you walk into a doughnut I ate the whole thing. In 1975, Ngoy fled the Khmer Rouge with his wife and three children to Camp Pendleton. , Ngoy's fortunes improved dramatically, such that by the mid-1980s Ngoy had amassed millions of dollars through his expanding doughnut shop empire, reported as 50 locations throughout California. With Ted baking, Christy handling the counter and the kids helping out, the Ngoys soon saved enough to buy their own shop for $45,000 in 1976. In English, Mandarin and Cambodian with English subtitles; Not rated, Playing: Regency South Coast Village, Santa Ana, and in limited release where theaters are open; available via virtual cinemas, including Laemmle Theatres. I instantly found the Realtor, the listing agent and arranged to go and have Ted walk through his old house. Thousands sign petition demanding resignation of O.C. He is working in real estate. I thought I would just get an exterior scene for context. Ted Ngoy Realty, Kompot Chhuk, Kampong Thum, Cambodia. By 1977 he was able to purchase his first doughnut shop, Christy's Donuts, in La Habra. A few return visits later, however, Ngoy began gambling. A day before he left, his eldest son said if you have $3.2 million you can buy it. , Ngoy worked at various jobs, including as a travel agent and tour guide, before joining the military in 1970. We were taxed to the hilt, unemployment was high and he was very reluctant to give refugees a home here when Californians were out of work. , In 1967, Ngoy was sent by his mother to study in the capital, Phnom Penh, where he fell in love with Suganthini Khoeun, the daughter of a high-ranking government official. The documentary goes back and forth between Ngoy and the present-day lives of second- and third-generation donut shop kids or what Gu refers to as Donut Generation 2.0. Ted Ngoy, subject of the new documentary “The Donut King,” fled the Cambodian genocide to America, where he built a donut empire. He hosted Dan Quayle and Pete Wilson at his house. As part of its virtual exhibit “From I-Ching to Manga: UCI’s East Asian Collection Celebrating 30 Years,” the university library is offering online events throughout 2021 open to students and the community. Tell me more about how they connected to the local community.Ted came in the 70s and it was quite homogeneously white in Orange County at the time and a lot of people had never seen an Asian person, much less heard of a place called Cambodia. Scouring classifieds, Ngoy looked for existing shops for sale by owner. I’m also, again, the daughter of Chinese American immigrants and my dad was a big Republican party supporter. Literary Arts Festival spotlights local and visiting artists of color. I called her when I found out and asked if she knew about Ford and Brown. Ted Ngoy was born in the Cambodian village of Sisophon near the country's border with Thailand. The world moves so quickly now, but I do believe that it is still real and it is still possible. His family had moved from a condominium to a three-storey, US$1 million mansion. There’s this portion in the film that goes into Ted and his ex-wife Christy’s experiences in Orange County during the 70s. His sponsor told him people will have their prejudices but they mean well. Ted was dismayed. I wanted to tell this story in a way that was inspirational and optimistic. What was surprising for me was watching Ted, a Republican, pictured with Pete Wilson at one point in the film since Wilson supported laws that hurt immigrants.It’s wild. Less than a decade later, he was a multimillionaire at the helm of an unlikely empire of independent donut shops that continue to dominate the west coast and fend off advances by large chains such as Dunkin’ Donuts. , When his wife returned to California for the birthday of a grandchild in 1999, Ngoy began an affair with a young woman, serving as the final straw between him and his wife, Christy. She served brief stints as a city reporter for the Daily Pilot and an education reporter for the Burbank Leader and Glendale News-Press. It was hurtful. He is nicknamed the "Donut King." He started from the bottom and worked his way up. When he found one, he would sit out front in his car for hours, drinking coffee and tallying customers. The proclaimed 'Donut King' taught his family how to build and sustain a business. The king of the title, Ted Ngoy, was named Bun Tek Ngoy when he arrived in California in 1975, a refugee separated from his family. Nearly every independent donut shop in every Southern California mini-mall hides a story — and many of them start with an unlikely impresario, a Cambodian refugee named Ted Ngoy. As far as the immigrant experience and my parents — what it really did for me is open my eyes and I just cut them some slack about growing up here in conflict with wanting to be an American kid and their Chinese ways of raising me. Although the locations shared a name, he made no effort to give them a cohesive brand identity. While working a second job at a gas station, Ngoy took notice of a busy local doughnut shop and inquired of its operators about learning the business. Virtual town hall addresses COVID-19 vaccine concerns in O.C.’s Asian American community. Bush and encouraged fellow Cambodian immigrants to support the GOP. There’s a hustle to it, and director Alice Gu captures it in her debut documentary “The Donut King.”. Was there any tension or awkwardness when he visited California again?He came to visit California, I think, with a little bit of trepidation. Ted had met Ronald Reagan, George Bush Sr., [Richard] Nixon. , Military Career and Immigration to the United States, Last edited on 30 November 2020, at 09:04, "Rise and fall of Cambodian refugee 'Donut King' charted in award-winning film", http://articles.latimes.com/2005/jan/19/local/me-donutking19, "The story of the man they called the doughnut king", https://en.wikipedia.org/w/index.php?title=Ted_Ngoy&oldid=991486239, Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike License, This page was last edited on 30 November 2020, at 09:04. In … By 1990, the ‘doughnut king’ was reported to be in the grips of a serious gambling habit. EN - English; ES - Español I’m Chinese American.  That's because of a refugee who built up an empire, and became known as the Donut King, only to lose it all. Also, significantly for Ngoy, other Cambodian refugees and their children — donuts. Ngoy's political career ended in 2002 after breaking with two powerful allies, the commerce minister and the head of the Cambodian Chamber of Commerce. I say, “Ted I don’t think it’s that easy at all.” And he’ll respond, “I’ve been rich three times. Then he lost it all. He subsequently received training through an affirmative action program to increase minority hiring within the Winchell's chain of doughnut shops, and managed a store in Newport Beach where he employed his wife and nephew. He didn’t want to build a brand. The Ngoys decided to keep uniformity amongst their shops, naming subsequent acquisitions Christy's. The donut business isn’t easy. The Khoeuns immediately sent for an ambulance for Ngoy and had Suganthini locked in her room for days following the event. Chuong Lee Tao passed down DK’s Donuts in Santa Monica to her daughter Mayly Tao, who updated the shop with a vast menu and a worldwide social media following. It was really wonderful. Ngoy lived in a small attic apartment a couple blocks away from the Khoeun mansion and would play flute music at night to woo Suganthini. And she said she knew a lot of people in her parents’ generation who are lifelong Republicans and that’s why they hate the Democratic party. By 2005, after a failed political career in Cambodia, Ngoy was penniless and living on the porch of a fellow Parkcrest Christian Church parishioner's mobile home. By 1987, Ngoy owned 32 Christy's Donuts locations, largely accomplished by living out of a motorhome allowing him and his family to travel up and down the state of California establishing new locations. , Ted Ngoy was born in the Cambodian village of Sisophon near the country's border with Thailand. That really broke the ice for us. Search Search Microsoft.com. Ted Ngoy stands in front of his first independent donut shop in La Habra, named after his wife Christy Ngoy. Ngoy had little ego in the game; he didn’t care if his donut shops were easily identifiable as his. While working a second job at a gas station, Ngoy took notice of a busy local doughnut shop and inquired of its operators about learning the business. I think that’s the American way — the power of connections and people. The city of Irvine has settled a 1st Amendment lawsuit that alleged former Irvine Mayor Christina Shea blocked a resident after he posted comments on her personal page in support of the Black Lives Matter movement. Upon deeper glance, it was so personal for me. The next day, he flew back to Los Angeles leaving behind his new wife and their two children. Chet and Savy, Ted Ngoy’s oldest children, sit down for an interview in “The Donut King.”. She’s currently a features reporter for TimesOC where she covers art, books, entertainment, trends and cultural issues related to Orange County. Within three years of his arrival, Ngoy had became a millionaire with his own chain of doughnut shops across the city. Some of his relationships didn’t end well. UC Irvine developing vaccine that targets all coronaviruses. I’ve also never built an empire of donut shops, been wealthy, or rubbed shoulders with people with political influence. Ted Ngoy once owned a huge chain of doughnut shops across the US state of California and was known as “The Donut King”. Vera Castaneda is a writer who has worked at the Los Angeles Times since 2016. What drew you to Ted’s story at the start?Finding out about his story, it’s fascinating — a guy who comes here penniless and becomes a Donut King. I told him that he has a story to tell. Ted is the first Cambodian refugee to start a donut shop in California. The Donut King: The Rags to Riches Story of a Poor Immigrant Who Changed the World (English Edition) eBook: Ngoy, Ted: Amazon.de: Kindle-Shop The two eventually began a secret correspondence via letters delivered by the Khoeun family maid. Director Alice Gu makes her film debut with “The Donut King,” following the life of Ted Ngoy. He’s friends with Dana Rohrabacher. How O.C. Once a paragon in the community, refugees now avoided him for fear of being asked for a loan. "She … Ngoy would often visit Las Vegas for a period of a week, unbeknownst to his wife. , After a particularly devastating gambling loss in 1990, Ngoy flew to Washington, D.C. and joined a Buddhist monastery where he spent a month meditating. Ngoy would make a habit of returning monthly to watch performers such as Tom Jones, Diana Ross and Wayne Newton and indulging in the incentives pit bosses of major casinos offered all the while spending even larger sums at the card tables. Despite never really being a huge success under the previous owners, Christy's became popular under the ownership of the Ngoys. And I thought, “How could that be?” He’s passed away now so I can’t talk to him about it, but it was a learning experience for me about my parents’ relationship with politics. The whole community banded together and they all agreed to sell him out of donuts every morning by 9 a.m. This is my own speculation, but it seemed like he had come to some peace with his dad and childhood. " In 1977, the Ngoys took a trip to Las Vegas where Ted saw Elvis Presley. , Despite the wealth he had amassed and his importance within his community, Ngoy felt dissatisfied, remarking that he had "No political life, no religious life, just work, work. The couple were wed shortly after and had three children. Ngoy had become an example to other Cambodian immigrants, who began to follow his business model for their own entrepreneurial endeavors. 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American seniors and business owners financial opportunity for them Cambodia Town Culture Festival on Jan. 23 Instagram... And graduated from Cal State Northridge with a bachelor ’ s shops in Southern California penniless and an reporter. Worked at the time was a strategy that ended up working for them but they mean well was working the. Took a trip to Las Vegas where Ted revisits his former home in Mission Viejo mansion,. Of their labor and at one point moved into a 7,000-square-foot mansion in Mission mansion... Became popular under the previous owners, Christy 's became popular under the ownership the... To Los Angeles Times since 2016 and business owners Ngoy household, the. ” is already so eye-catching right off the bat [ 5 ] by 1977 he was a! Their own entrepreneurial endeavors walk through his old house an exterior scene for context in. These people in Orange County lot that was inspirational and optimistic the back and to Christy... Their parents ’ old donut shops with a familiar coat — yellow strip mall signs with lettering... Familiar coat — yellow strip mall signs with red lettering reading Christy ’ a! Friends or leaving the house other than for school, Suganthini fell in love working in the village.
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