When Nini Nguyen plans a vacation with her loved ones, the Bravo’s Top Chef alum has one important preference when it comes to her accommodations. “Whenever I’m traveling, it’s really nice to be able to have a Vrbo, where I know I’m gonna have a kitchen,” Nini says in the video above. “Whether it’s with friends or with family, everyone wants to hang out by the kitchen counter anyways.”

Because group trips are all about making the most of time together, one of Nini’s go-to vacation recipes is an “easy one-pot dish” that doesn’t require hours of cleanup. Of course, as she shows in the video above, the meal is also “stunning.”

To re-create Nini’s flavorful seafood jambalaya on your next family vacation, watch her demonstrate exactly how to make it in the video and get the full recipe here:

Seafood Jambalaya

• 1 lb shrimp, shells removed and set aside
• 1 lb cooked Dungeness crab
• ¼ cup oil
• 1 onion, diced
• 1 bell pepper, diced
• 3 celery stalks, diced
• 3 garlic cloves, minced
• 2 tbsp Creole Seasoning (recipe below)
• 1½ cups jasmine rice
• 2 tbsp fish sauce
• ½ lb squid, cut
• ¼ cup parsley
• Pinch sea salt flakes


  1. In a paella pan, toast shrimp shells and Dungeness crab in oil until shrimp shells are completely pink. Remove crab and set aside. Use shrimp shells to make Shrimp Stock (recipe below).
  2. Add onion, bell pepper, celery, and garlic to paella pan and sauté in the oil until onion is translucent. Add the Creole Seasoning.
  3. Pour an even layer of rice into the pan and toast with vegetables for 4 to 5 minutes.
  4. Pour Shrimp Stock and fish sauce over the rice and vegetables and bring to a boil. Cover the pan with foil and simmer for 15 minutes over the lowest heat setting.
  5. Season shrimp and squid with Creole Seasoning and then lay all seafood on top of rice.
  6. Cover the pan again and cook for another 8 minutes over medium heat.
  7. Garnish with parsley and sea salt.

Shrimp Stock

• Toasted shells from 1 lb shrimp
• 3½ cups water


  1. Place shrimp shells in a saucepan with water. Bring to a boil, then simmer for 30 minutes.

Creole Seasoning

  • 1 tbsp onion powder
  • 1 tbsp garlic powder
  • 1 tbsp paprika
  • 1 tbsp Diamond Crystal kosher salt
    *Use 2 tsp if using a different brand of salt
  • 1 tsp cayenne pepper
  • ½ tsp white pepper


  1. Mix all spices together.

If Nini’s vacation recipe has inspired you to book a food-centric getaway with your loved ones, check out these enviable Vrbo vacation homes in some of the United States’ top cities for food, courtesy of Vrbo. Whether you prefer to stay in a dreamy bayfront house in Houston, a modern abode in the heart of Denver, a historic designer home in Napa Valley, or any type of residence in between, these Vrbo options will ensure your next getaway is more than memorable .

Houston, Texas

Midcentury Modern 2-Story Getaway Downtown
The Boho Hideaway
Villa Del Sol on the Bay

Charleston, South Carolina

Timeless Renovated House in Downtown Charleston
Luxurious & Rustic Home
Sunrise (Best of Charleston Award)

New Orleans, Louisiana

Beautiful Historic Home
Sophisticated Marigny Triangle Open Concept Home
Bright Home Near French Quarter

Savannah, Georgia

Wedding Cake Mansion
Gorgeous New Home on Monterey Square
General Lachlan McIntosh House

Nashville, Tennessee

A Luxury Retreat in the Middle of the City
Historic House in Trendy Germantown
The Urban Farmhouse

Napa Valley, California

Casa Paradiso
Historic Designer Home
The Main Street House

Portland, Oregon

Private Forested Retreat
Modern & Artistic Large House
Home with a Bright Open Floor Plan

Denver, Colorado

Brand New Spacious House
Modern 4-Story Home
Modern Luxury Home

Want more Top Chef? New episodes air Thursdays at 8/7c or catch up through the Bravo app.

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