The Norman Transcript


June 14, 2008

‘Best kept secret’

By Julianna Parker

Transcript Staff Writer

Whispering Pines Bed and Breakfast has built a small but faithful clientele since it opened in 1999. The restaurant and lounge followed in 2002.

Now owner Rany Kchao is expanding to wine. He’s planted a five-acre vineyard and hopes to begin making wine with next year’s harvest.

But Kchao doesn’t come from a wine-making tradition.

“Cambodia don’t have no grapes, but … the landscape of the grape always take(s) my soul,” he said.

Kchao was born and raised in Cambodia, but fled the country during communist rule and eventually immigrated to the U.S. in 1982. He calls Jan. 7, 1982, his birthday, because that’s when he started his new life.

Kchao came to the U.S. with only $300 and worked in food service washing dishes and sweeping floors, but he said he never regretted his choice to come to America.

“Just to be born in the place called the United States is just a blessing; Don’t ask for anything more,” Kchao said.

He’s grateful for the opportunities he’s had in the U.S., marveling at the place he’s at now, owning his own business.

“If you can’t make it in the U.S., you can’t make it nowheres,” he said.

Kchao has kept that gratitude his whole life, along his tough work ethic. He and his wife, Terry, bought Whispering Pines Bed and Breakfast, 7820 E. Highway 9, after its previous owner had given it up, Kchao said. The couple, along with their son David and daughter Molida, cleared the land, added a pond and gazebo for weddings and added a fine dining restaurant. The chef at the restaurant is Rany’s sister-in-law, Chinda Kchao.

Kchao said he wants Whispering Pines to be a retreat for city-dwellers.

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