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Daniel Jarrett, Spicers Tamarind Retreat (Sunshine Coast, Australia)

It is without doubt, Australians love road trips. They love leaving town during the long weekends and breaks, and there is no doubt, more and more restaurants that can be found outside your typical CBD locations. Spicers Tamarind retreat is located in the Sunshine Coast hinterlands, a 40 minute drive from the Sunshine Coast CBD. Nestled and surrounded by green hills and rainforests making it one of the most beautiful places to relax, dine and rejuvenate.

Heading one of the many restaurants at the retreat, is Sunshine coast born chef, Daniel Jarrett. During his 11 years as chef there, the Tamarind restaurant has obtained countless awards as well as a chef’s hat. Originally trained in French cuisine, he was shown the complexity and intensity of Thai cuisine by Chef Paul Blain who was not only the previous owner of The Tamarind but also an Alumni of Darley’s Street Thai in Sydney.

With a combination of 25 years in cooking French, Asian and Thai cuisine, Daniel Jarrett combines his knowledge of east-west techniques, along with the best produce in Australia. Queensland also produces the best South East Asian ingredients due to the warm climate, temperature and terrain.


1- How do you define the style and philosophy behind your restaurant, The Tamarind at Spicers Retreat?

Daniel Jarrett-

For me, personally, I fell into Asian cookery when I opened The Tamarind, I read as much as I could to get an insight and knowledge around the cultures, especially Thai. I wanted to do the dishes justice and also, respect the cultures and countries that I am borrowing from. I am western trained so I like to mix with what I was taught with what I have learnt.

2- What will/should your diners expect when dining at the Tamarind at Spicers?

Daniel Jarrett-

The Tamarind is located in Maleny on the Sunshine coast Hinterland in Queensland, set on 22 acres of rainforest surrounds. It is a relaxing environment, and with the food, we offer a 3 or 5 course option and encourage the guests to share a selection of dishes. For me, it is all about family style eating – sharing those punchy bold flavours backed with great service and a great drinks list in a beautiful setting.

3- When and how did you know you wanted to be a chef? Who and what inspired you to cook?

Daniel Jarrett-

I do not have a romantic story or anything like that. For me, it was a way to get out of school and my mother asked me what subjects I enjoyed at school as I was not allowed to leave without a plan. I mentioned that I liked cooking for some reason and here I am, 26 years later. As soon I stepped into professional kitchens, I loved it!

4- Establishing a great relationship with your suppliers is crucial to ensuring seasonal and best quality ingredients delivered to your door. How are the relationships between you and your supplier?

Daniel Jarrett-

Yes, they are important. We learn from each other and it also gives us the guest a connection. We can tell a story to our guests about the inspiration for a dish, for example.

4- Can you explain to us the creative process when planning a dish? From the point that it is in your head to finishing it on a plate.

Daniel Jarrett-

For me, it comes from everywhere. From chefs I admire, to watching a mother or grandmother cooking on a tv show, or online. It could be a technique or a traditional dish. From there, I work out how it can be served in our restaurant and how I can put my spin on it. We collaborate as a team and work it out.

5- There are so many cuisines in the world, what made your dwell into the world of Thai cuisine?

Daniel Jarrett-

To be honest, I feel into it. I had an offer to open the Tamarind, and at this point of time, I had no experience in Asian food. I was lucky that the general manager at the time was a chef and very experience in Thai food, having worked with David Thompson in the Darley Street Thai days. He passed on his knowledge, recipes and methods. For me, it was a great introduction especially for my palate and understanding how a dish should taste especially the flavour profiles and balance.

6- Have you got a mentor or figure that you particular admire/respect throughout your career as a chef?

Daniel Jarrett-

I have lots of chefs that I admire, like some of the chefs you have on here. They are amazing and I definitely look up to these guys. Learning in western kitchens, I loved Marco, Gordon and Rene but I also a lot of Australian chefs. David Thompson was and is a huge inspiration, but these days, I respect so many.

7- Have you got any advice to chefs that are dwelling into Thai food?

Daniel Jarrett-

For me, it is understanding the balance. Knowing the hot, sweet, salty and sour. Knowing how to control these punchy flavours and how it relates to different dishes as different dishes have different flavour profiles. Also, respecting and understanding their culture and the importance of rice.

8- Do your chefs at work share the same enthusiasm as you about the cuisine? How do you inspire your chefs day to day?

Daniel Jarrett-

They would not be working at the Tamarind if they did not like it. They all generally have an interest in Asian but saying that, the Tamarind was born from a Thai heart and through the years, we draw on other Asian countries for inspiration as well, but it is me that drives the Thai element.

9- You have been in the undustry for quite some time, have you seen a shift in people’s perception to Thai or Asian food?

Daniel Jarrett-

I have. Everyone seems to love Asian food, it suits our climate and we are blessed with the quality of ingredients we have at our doorstep. There is still that individual battle of “this is too spicy” or “this is too sweet” etc and trying to teach the importance of rice but Asian restaurants seem to be very popular.

10- Top 5 produce to work with

Daniel Jarrett-

Seafood, vegetables, beef, pork, chicken and game.

11- Top 5 pantry ingredients

Daniel Jarrett-

Fish sauce, soy sauce, oyster sauce and koji… so many..

12- Favourite kitchen tool

Daniel Jarrett-

A good knife

13- Where are your favourite restaurants to go to in Brisbane, Australia or anywhere in the word?

Daniel Jarrett-

I don’t get much time. I love cooking over charcoal at home for the family on my days off. However, some of the best food I have eaten was from Martin Benn at Sepia and 10 William street – love that place and such great vibes.

14- What are the future plans for Daniel Jarrett and The Tamarind?

Daniel Jarrett-

Hopefully, a kitchen and restaurant refurbishment, (laughs). But, for me, I would love to learn more about Thai food, there is so much to learn.

15- Can you share us a recipe for one of your dishes?

Daniel Jarrett-

Hot and sour salad of prawns.

Hot and Sour Salad of Prawns


  • 1 Coriander Root, medium
  • 1 whole Birdseye Chilli, medium
  • 2 Garlic Cloves
  • 20ml Lime Juice
  • 20ml Fish Sauce


  • Pinch sea salt
  • 8 Medium Green Prawns, shelled with tail on, de-veined
  • ¼ cup Coriander Leaves, loosely packed
  • ¼ cup Mint Leaves, loosely packed
  • ¼ cup Green Onion, finely sliced on a 3 cm long angle
  • 1tbs Garlic Chives, cut 3cm
  • 1tbs Red Shallots, sliced thinly lengthways
  • 1tsp Lemongrass, finely sliced
  • 1tsp Kaffir Lime Leaves, finely sliced
  • ¼ tsp Ground Roasted Sticky Rice


  1. For the dressing, pound the coriander root, chilli and garlic in a mortar and pestle to a robust paste. Add lime juice then the fish sauce. Adjust to taste. It should be hot, sour and slightly salty. Reserve.
  2. For the Salad, in a pot of slow simmering water with the sea salt, plunge the peeled prawns for 1-1½ minutes (depending on size) or until cooked. Strain and allow to rest. If prawns are larger than bite sized, slice on an angle into bite sized pieces.
  3. In a bowl, combined the salad herbs. Add prawns to the side of herbs. Spoon the dressing over the prawns, then combine the prawns with the salad herbs.
  4. To serve, place in the centre of a plate. Sprinkle with roasted ground sticky rice.
  5. The stock keeps for 2-3 days in the refrigerator, or you can freeze it. Bring the stock to the boil before using.

©Daniel Jarrett


CHEF: Daniel Jarrett

Instagram- danjaret Spicers Tamarind Retreet- spicerstamarindretreat

Spicers Tamarind Retreat

88 Obi Lane South, Maleny

Queensland, 4552



©All images on this website are subject to copyright. Please enquire individual photos prior to using it for personal use.

Martin Boetz, Cooks Shed (Sydney, Australia)

If you were to ask any Sydneysiders where the best Thai food was back in the days, Longrain restaurant was definitely high on the list and on everyone’s lips. Martin Boetz was executive chef and co-owner of Longrain Sydney for fourteen years and Longrain Melbourne for seven years. Everyone that had the opportunity to eat at Longrain Sydney in the early days would recall queues to get into the restaurant and this definitely showed how important it was for Martin to put out amazing and consistent food.

Before opening Longrain, Martin spent his career clocking hours under the legendary chef and Thai expert, David Thompson at the renowned Darley’s St Thai and then Sailor’s Thai, afterwards. Martin’s dedication to his craft has got him various awards in the Australian dining scene, including 2 chef hats under the Sydney Morning Herald good food guide as well as chef hats under the Gourmet Traveller guide.

Opening the cook’s co-op/shed in 2014, this gave Martin the opportunity to work with the amazing produce from the Hawkesbury region and bring together various events including weddings, chef collaborations but importantly, to bring people together to enjoy Martin’s passion for delicious food.


1- How do you define the style and philosophy of your cooking?

Martin Boetz- 

My style has been to share a family/Asian style meal that imparts generosity and has depth and abundance in flavour that compliments each other. My philosophy is all about keeping things real and seasonal.

2- Can you tell us more about what you do at the Cook’s shed?

Martin Boetz-

We are a bespoke event space, creating memorable experiences for weddings, parties, launches, film shoots and also, where I personally consult on a menu for an occasion.

3- What will/should your guests expect when attending or holding an event at the Cook’s Shed?

Martin Boetz-

An overall unforgettable experience with amazing views, food, styling and staff!

4- Having run the legendary Longrain restaurant as co-owner and chef for many years, what inspired you to open the cook’s co-op and now, the cook’s shed?

Martin Boetz- 

I was looking for a property to build a house and do some gardening but one thing led to another and all of a sudden, my life changed to growing produce supplying restaurants in Sydney with what I was growing and also, with what was available around me in the Hawkesbury. The inspiration was the abundant amount of produce surrounding my property.

5- When and how did you know you wanted to become a chef? Who and what inspired you to cook?

Martin Boetz-

I was an only child and I spend a lot of time with my grandmother growing up and she loved to cook so that began my interest. At high school, I did work experience in a kitchen and that was the point when I decided to pursue a cooking profession in which I then started at 16 years old.

6- You have two cookbook, “Longrain, Modern Thai Food” and “New Thai Food”, can you tell us the story and inspiration behind these cookbooks?

Martin Boetz-

The first cookbook was classic Longrain cocktails and a selection of popular dishes from the restaurant. The book was first published in 2003.

“New Thai Food” was a selection of my signature dishes. All of them, Thai inspired in which I wanted people to be able to create at home with ease and have fun doing it.

7– You opened your first restaurant Longrain Sydney back in 1999 and Melbourne followed after. Longrain was not only pumping out amazing food but also had great vibes, not to mention the countless awards that came with it. Can you tell us the secret behind running two successful restaurants and how you juggled your time in the kitchen and the day-to-day oeration?

Martin Boetz- 

I believe the success of a restaurant is to be visible to your customers and also to be present in the kitchens, so I would split my weeks into 3 days in Melbourne and 4 days in Sydney.

I had the travelling down to a fine art and also made great friends in Melbourne which made it a pleasure to live in 2 cities.

It was hard work which paid off by being consistent, present and motivated, But, remember to be kind to yourself which I sometimes forgot.

8- Have you got a mentor or figure that you particularly admire/respect throughout your career as a chef?

Martin Boetz-

David Thompson taught me the most important thing in Thai food and that is to taste and keep your section clean. Not in those words………

9- What has been the most interesting Thai dish you have come across since dwelling into Thai food?

Martin Boetz-

The fragrance of all the amazing produce that makes and goes into Thai food from pungent fish sauce, shrimp pastes, fermented fish (plaa ra), to the freshness of lemongrass, lime leaves, makrut limes, galangal, Thai basil and many more.

I have many favourites but hot and sour salad with the nuttiness of roasted rice has to be a favourite and the soup recipe that I am sharing with you.

10- Thai food in known to have complexity, layers and balance. How should one go about when developing or cooking a dish and then having to incorporate these techniques and elements into it?

Martin Boetz- 

Taste as you go and do not be afraid of turning up the seasoning as one must remember, if you are eating with rice, your dish cannot be bland as it is the rice that needs to be flavoured. Taste, taste, taste. Balance is the key.

11- Have you got any advice for up-and-coming chefs or anyone that would like to dwell into the world of Thai food?

Martin Boetz-

Learn from a Thai cook that can generously share their knowledge and eat as much Thai food as possible.

12- Top 5 ingredients to have in your pantry.

Martin Boetz-

First sauce, palm sugar, dried chilli, pickled mustard greens and an array of spices.

13- Top 5 produce to work with.

Martin Boetz-

Aged grass fed beef – lesser cuts are my choice.

School prawns out of the river in front of my farm, fragrant Thai herbs and the many varieties of Australian fish and crustaceans – especially Marrons from Western Australia.

14- Where are your favourite places to eat in Sydney, Australia or anywhere in the word.

Martin Boetz- 

I love Italian food.

Fratelli Paradiso or Alberto’s in Sydney.

Di Satasio Citta in Melbourne.

Also, but not Italian, Ester and Fred’s in Sydney.

The river cafe in London or Locanda Locatelli, also in London.

15- What does a day off consist for Martin Boetz?

Martin Boetz-

Going to the gym, walking my dog and having a laugh with my close friends.

16- If not a chef, you would be?

Martin Boetz-

A florist. I love flowers.

17- Having run a successful restaurant in the past and now, with the cook’s shed. What are the future plans for Martin Boetz and the cook’s shed?

Martin Boetz-

I would like to build an accommodation on my property and have a small hotel.

18- Can you share us a recipe for one of your dishes?

Steamed duck, winter melon and shiitake mushroom soup.

Steamed Duck, Winter Melon and Shiitake Mushroom Soup

(Serves 4)

  • 4 Duck Leg Quarters, trimmed of excess fat
  • 1 Small Winter Melon, peeled and cut into bite-sized pieces
  • 1 Thai Pickled lime, halved
  • 10 Dried Shiitake Mushrooms, soaked in warm water for 20 minutes, drained. Stems discarded.
  • Garlic Chives, cut into 3cm lengths, to garnish.

Soup Stock

  • 5 Garlic cloves, peeled
  • 4 Coriander Roots, scraped and cleaned
  • 4cm piece Fresh Ginger, peeled
  • 8 White Peppercorns
  • 1 Small Red Onion, sliced
  • 100ml Chinese Cooking Wine
  • 60gm Rock Candy, pounded
  • 150ml Oyster Sauce
  • 100ml Light Yellow Bean Soy
  • 1.5L Chicken Stock (see below)

Chicken Stock (Makes 2 litres)

  • 3 Chicken Carcass, all skin and fat removed
  • 4 Spring Onion (Scallions), sliced
  • 1 Brown onion
  • 2x4cm Pieces Fresh Ginger, sliced
  • 2.5L Cold water
  1. Wash the chicken bones thoroughly to remove any blood. Place in a large stockpot, cover with the water and bring to the boil. As the water reaches boiling point, scum may float to the surface – skim off with a spoon to ensure a clear stock.
  2. Once boiling point is reached, reduce the heat to a simmer, skim off any more scum and add the spring onions, onions and ginger. Simmer for 3-5 hours over a very low heat. Strain.
  3. The stock keeps for 2-3 days in the refrigerator, or you can freeze it. Bring the stock to the boil before using.


  1. To make the soup stock, pound the garlic, coriander roots, ginger, peppercorns and onion in a mortar and pestle until well combined and a uniform paste. Heat the oil in a large heavy based saucepan over a medium-high heat. Add the paste and fry until it smells crisp and nutty, for about 5-6 minutes. Drain off the excess oil. Pour in the Chinese cooking wine and boil, stirring for 30 seconds to deglaze the pan. Stir in the rock candy, oyster sauce and light yellow bean soy, then add the chicken stock. Bring to the boil, reduce the heat and simmer for 5-6 minutes, skimming off any scum that rises to the top. Strain the stock and keep warm
  2. Set a large steamer over boiling water. Place the duck pieces, winter melon, pickled lime and mushrooms in a large heatproof bowl that will fit inside the steamer. Put the bowl in the steamer, then pour in the strained stock to come almost to the top of the bowl. Cover with a layer of baking paper, then with aluminium foil. Steam for 1.5 hours, checking the steamer’s water level throughout, and filling the boiling water as necessary.
  3. Remove the bowl from the steamer. Check that the duck is cooked through – the meat should fall off the bone – and the winter melon is almost translucent. Taste and adjust the seasoning.
  4. To serve, ladle the soup stock, duck, winter melon and mushrooms into deep soup bowls. Top each with the garlic chives to garnish. Serve hot.

©Martin Boetz



Instagram- martinboetz  Cooks Shed- cooks_shed

Cooks Shed

2 West Portland Road, Sackville,

New South Wales, 2756



©All images on this website are subject to copyright. Please enquire individual photos prior to using it for personal use.

Prin Polsuk, Samrub Samrub Thai (Bangkok, Thailand)

Hailing from Chiang Mai, Prin Polsuk started late in his professional career working at the Mandarin Oriental’s, Sala Rim Naam. It was from there, he was approached by renowned Thai chef and expert, David Thompson to work at Nahm London which then became the first Thai restaurant in the world to receive one Michelin Star.

When Nahm London closed, Prin headed back to Bangkok to head up the Kitchen at Nahm Bangkok at The Metropolitan Hotel. Whilst executive chef there, Nahm has received countless accolades including a Michelin star and being featured on the Asia’s 50 best list for a number of years.

Starting as a pop up concept in 2017, Prin was cooking around different restaurant kitchens and it was in 2019, Prin found a permanent space for Samrub Samrub Thai. The restaurant is so well received that it probably is one of the hardest restaurant to get a booking. Today, Prin continues to wow his guests and inspire chefs through his passion and dedication displayed in his craft and food.


1- How do you define your style of cooking and the philosophy behind your restaurant, Samrub Samrub Thai?

Prin Polsuk- 

Samrub Samrub Thai aims to be an educational platform for Thai food and Thai culture. We would like to cultivate the old cultures of Thai sharing, eating and cooking through interactions in our kitchen space and also sharing knowledge through the dining experience.

My cooking style is the old ways of Thai cooking as it is embedded in my whole life experience, from my family farmer background to experiences in villages and local communities around Thailand. This also includes new knowledge and techniques from around the world that I have travelled and learnt from.

2- What will/should your diners expect when dining at Samrub Samrub Thai?

Prin Polsuk-

Happiness and deliciousness!

3- When and how did you know you wanted to become a chef? Who and what inspired you to cook?

Prin Polsuk-

I always feel happy and fulfilled when I am cooking. I have to be in the kitchen and cook every day, it just becomes me and myself. I cannot explain when and how.

I think my grandmother and my mother inspired me to cook as we cook every day at home since I was born. However, my chef’s journey was more inspired by Anthony Bourdain, from the first book I read. Kitchen confidential.

4- What has been the most unique Thai ingredients that you have come across since dwelling into this cuisine?

Prin Polsuk-

Green peppercorn! (Prik-Thai= พริกไทย) It is the real Thai hotness and spiciness before chilli was imported. And of course, Bird’s eye chilli, which changed Thai flavours forever.

5- Having worked at Nahm as executive chef for many years, what sparked you to open your own restaurant?

Prin Polsuk-

My wife, Mint.

I also want to originate my art of cooking, developing and creating Thai ways of cooking through my own style from the knowledge and experience that I have gained throughout my life and to share with my cooks and my guests.

6- Can you tell us how you source the ingredients for your restaurant? Is there a particular supplier you go for or do you get the produce yourself?

Prin Polsuk-

We share some suppliers among the chef’s community here. However, some very local, season and rare ingredients, we need to get them ourselves. We often travel and go to the communities to look for what “under the radar” ingredients we could use to showcase, re-value and revive them at the restaurant.

7- Have you got a mentor or figure that you particularly admire/respect throughout your career as a chef?

Prin Polsuk-

Chef David Thompson, my forever boss and dad. Chef is the one who gave me invaluable opportunity.

8- Your wife, Mint has a family business – Mae Pao curry paste shop. Can Mint or yourself tell us more about it?

Prin Polsuk- 

The family business “Mae Pao curry paste shop” has been around for 90 years. Mint’s grandmother set up the very small shop in Bangrak market 90 years ago. Now, Mint’s cousin takes ownership and runs the shop while Mint helps with promoting and reaching new targets like B2C and exporting markets with customised recipes for the pastes.

“Mae Pao” sells more than 30 types of curry pastes, fresh coconut cream and some pickles to famous restaurants, airlines and hotels in Bangkok.

Also, at Samrub Samrub Thai, we developed our own fresh coconut cream process and use the paste to showcase at the restaurant too!

Samrub Samrub Thai also has a sister brand called “Mae Oui Ama”, which aims to deliver more approachable and comfort food from my grandmother (I am from Chiang Mai, in the north, we call grandmother “Mae oui”) and also combining with Mint’s grandmother’s (in the Chinese family, we call “Ama”) experiences and recipes. Therefore, the food of Mae Oui Ama is more towards a combination of tribes, Northern to Thai Chinese food.

9- What has it been like from transiting to a big restaurant operation to a 10 seater restaurant?

Prin Polsuk-

More concentration and more happy! (and more busy)

10- You collect a lot of old Thai/Royal cookbooks and get inspiration from them. Can you tell us more about these cookbooks for people who do not know?

Prin Polsuk-

For me, old Thai cookbooks are the meaning and existence of the food that I cook. It is reference that the dish existed in that particular way or this form. Some might have disappeared but they did exist before.

Old Thai cookbooks comprised of various recipes, ranging from royal families to local families. Most of them were written or produced by ladies of the king or whom are related to the royal family. Food were cooked only through women back then.

Old Thai cookbooks also reflected the revolution of Thai food culture through time, migration from many tribes, classes and nations.

11- Where are your favourite restaurants to go in Bangkok or anywhere in Thailand?

Mint Jarukittikun-

Well! There are so many. We often travel for research and to understand through our food journey.

Intuitively, we love street food, food from Chinese cook shops, and local native regional food. Recently, we have gone for beef noodles once a week. We have some places that we usually go but we also try to seek new ones once every week!

To name a few, Talingchan Rod Ded (a local beef noodle soup), Baan Kon Muang (native northern Thai food), and my often go to once in 2 months is Jay-Tum seafood restaurant in the Bangkok suburb.

Please look up #mintchelin on Instagram for more restaurants in Thailand and others.

12- What has been the most interesting dish you have come across or cooked?

Prin Polsuk-

Chantaburi jungle curry of beef. It is the combination of many knowledge of spice and herb usage and the mixture of Thai, Chinese and possibly other nations. It’s a very interesting jungle curry. It is very complex and comprised of more than 25 ingredients in the curry paste.

13- Have you got any advice for future chefs or anyone that is wanting to dwell into Thai cuisine?

Prin Polsuk-

Read more, be patient and be generous.

14- What does a day off consist of for Prin?

Prin Polsuk-

Sleeeeeeeping, coooooooking, and reading!

15- You run the most amazing restaurant and you are also one of Thailand’s or if not, one of the worlds most knowledgable chef specialising and cooking this cuisine. What are the future plans for Prin, Mint and Samrub Samrub Thai?

Prin Polsuk-

Cook better Thai food, teach our kids to cook Thai food. I’d like to share all of my knowledge to the cooks and friends who share the love of Thai food with me. We plan to do our own cookbook as we have created and developed recipes every month since we serve totally different menus every month in our kitchen. We still seek for lost ingredients and we try to revive, add value and showcase them to the world.

16- Can you share with us one of your recipes?

Prin Polsuk-

Chantaburi Jungle curry of beef.

Based on Thai cookbooks, there are no measurement. Cook at your own art and feeling!

Chantaburi jungle curry of beef

Curry paste

  • Green Thai Bird’s Eye Chillies
  • Hot Basil Flower
  • Bustard Cardamom
  • Garlic
  • Shallot
  • Galangal
  • Lemongrass
  • Long leaf Coriander Root
  • Coriander Root
  • Wild Ginger
  • Sand Ginger
  • Cassumunar Ginger
  • Shrimp Paste
  • Dry wild Coriander Flower
  • Cardamom
  • Cumin Seed
  • Coriander Seed
  • White Peppercorn
  • Black Peppercorn
  • Star Anise
  • Cassia Bark
  • Clove
  • Small Dried Chilli
  • Dried Karen Chilli

  1. Make the paste
  2. Heat the oil in the pot, adding curry paste in and stir until fragrant.
  3. Add sliced beed or hanger as you like.
  4. Season with salt fish sauce and black pepper.
  5. Add coconut water or water.
  6. Simmer until meat is cooked.
  7. Add pineapple shoot, cardamom shoot, fresh chillies, kaffir lime leaves, hot basil, cumin leaves and long leaf coriander.
  8. Taste the spiciness, saltiness and sweetness from the shoots and herbs.

©Prin Polsuk/Samrub Samrub Thai



Instagram- Prin Polsuk & Mint Jarukittikun

Restaurant- Samrub Samrub Thai

Samrub Samrub Thai

100 Mahaseth, 102, Maha Set Road, Si Phraya, Bang Rak, Bangkok 10500, Thailand

©All images on this website are subject to copyright. Please enquire individual photos prior to using it for personal use.

Angus An, Maenam Restaurant (Vancouver, Canada)

Taiwanese born chef Angus An has always been surrounded by food from a young age. From being inspired by his parents to his grandmother. After graduating with a bachelor’s degree in Fine Arts, he leaped into pursuing cooking as a career, and applied to New York’s prestigious French Culinary Institute.

From there, he completed an externship at Jean-George’s Vongerichten’s restaurant JoJo, and graduated top of his class. He then went onto working three years under Chef Normand Laprise at restaurant Toque who he till today looks up to him as a great mentor. In 2004, his culinary adventures find him working in the UK under Chef David Thompson where he spent the next 18 months learning the intense aroma, flavours, textures and the many aspects of Thai Cuisine

Angus opened up his award winning restaurant, Maenam in 2009, and the rest was history. Now, with 6 restaurants under his belt, who knows what he would be surprising us with his 7th!


1- How do you define your style of cooking and philosophy behind your restaurants, Maenam, Longtail kitchen, Fat Mao noodles, Firebird Shack and Sen Pad Thai?

Angus An-

I think the most straightforward way to describe the prevailing style behind all of our restaurants is that we are Thai in spirit and flavour combined with local and seasonal (West Coast of Canada) ingredients, and some modern cooking techniques applied.

2- What will/should your diners expect when dining at your restaurants?

Angus An-

Something new, something old. Guests will try definitive Thai dishes that they may have seen throughout North America but executed with my own imagination and technique. They will also experience more traditional dishes they may not have experienced before and are unique to our restaurants. We try to provide variety.

3- When and how did you know you wanted to be a chef? Who and what inspired you to cook? 

Angus An-

I have loved cooking since an early age. I was 20 in University studying Fine Arts, hoping to pursue a career in Architecture when I decided I wanted to turn what has always been a passion and job into a culinary career.

4- You released your first cookbook “Maenam – a fresh approach to Thai cooking” late last year. What was the inspiration behind writing this book? 

Angus An-

It began as an attempt to write a modern Thai cookbook. Eventually, as timing dictated, it became a celebration of 10+ years of Maenam and how we have evolved since we opened. It is a book that showcases the food we create, using Thai tradition with local and seasonal ingredients found in the West Coast of Canada.

5- What has been the most unique Thai ingredient/s you have come across since dwelling into this cuisine.

Angus An-

There are many, but if there was one I had to pinpoint it will have to be Pla Rah. I think an ingredient is special when one can use the phrase “complex funk” to describe it. That is a perfect term for its the depth of flavour, the uniqueness, the polarizing smell and taste.

6- Having just spent some time in Thailand, what have been the most eye opening experiences/enlightening moments during your trip?

Angus An-

I spend time there every year so I feel at home in Thailand now. Looking back to my very first trip, the most tantalizing thing for me was the street food. The quantity, the quality and the ability of these cooks to make these delicious dishes with minimal setup blew me away.

7- Thai food generally is eaten as a shared meal with rice where there is usually a relish, soup, salad, stir fry and curry. Can you advise us how one should go by to ensure they are having a balanced meal?

Angus An

The key word is balance. Try to have a combination of proteins and vegetables. Generally I also strive for balance of flavour—simply put, I would not order 5 of the most spiciest dishes on the menu at the same time. A spicy jungle curry paired with a cleansing soup can give your palate a well deserving break.

8- With 6 restaurants under your belt, can you share with us the secret to the success of your businesses?

Angus An- 

Adaptability and flexibility. It’s key to learn what your customers want. Too many chefs are egocentric and only want to cook what they want to cook, but your clientele might not be ready for such an adventure. A successful restaurant is when the chef and guests have a good balance and understanding of what they both want from one another.

9- Have you got any advice to chefs that are dwelling into the world of Thai food?

Angus An-

Go for it! It is as refined as any cuisine out there and a world of flavours awaits.

10- Have you got a mentor or figure that you particularly admire/respect throughout your career as a chef?

Angus An

I have two key chefs that I look to as mentors in my career. Normand Laprise of Toqué in Montreal, who taught me about a naturalistic way of cooking. His food is so minimal and pure, always representing his terroir and the ingredients he uses. Second mentor would be David Thompson, he changed my notion of Thai food (see below). He showed me the intensity, complexity and balance of Thai food.

11- I find people perceive Thai food and most Southeast Asian cuisine as a “cheap” cuisine due to the reputation of small takeaway restaurants offering affordable prices and other factors. It can also be a challenge to educate diners about what Thai food is/how it should taste as diners might not know the effort and time that goes into making pastes and dressings from scratch. They might not also be familiar with the flavour profiles of each individual dish as well. What has been the most challenging in running restaurants in Vancouver and what would you say is the most misunderstood aspect of Thai food from a chef and diners’ point of view.

Angus An-

When I was a young chef I admit that was also my perception of Thai food. It was mostly because I had not been exposed to good Thai food. Until I met Chef David Thompson—his Thai flavours blew me away and then I realized how naïve I was. I would recommend that people have an open mind, try new things and travel more if you can. Diners in Vancouver are becoming more knowledgeable, and willing to experience new flavours. Initially when we opened, we had to cook dishes they recognized as Thai food, but executed with my own techniques and creativity. Slowly over the last 12 years we have been able to gain the trust of our guests and introduce dishes that might be challenging but most of them are openly willing to try. I think a chef/restauranteur has to be patient and build that trust.

12- Top 5 favourite produce to work with.

Angus An-

I don’t have a top 5, love all produce and love to let each season inspire me with its bounty..

13- Top 5 ingredients to have in your pantry.

Angus An-

I must preface this by saying, I rarely cook Thai food at home. My pantry reflects that:
Good quality olive oil (lots of them), sea salt, black peppercorns (whole), fish sauce and soy sauce.

14- Where are your favourite restaurants to go to in Vancouver?

Angus An-

Kissa Tanto, Cioppino’s, Masayoshi

15- There is a much greater coverage and understanding of Thai food compared to many years ago. With Michelin arriving in Thailand and more Thai restaurants featured on Asia’s 50 best list. What are your thoughts of the Thai culinary scene in the upcoming years to come?

Angus An-

Thai food had been shining well before the recent spot light, but I do think it will continue to gain worldwide recognition as one of the finest cuisines.

16- Establishing a great relationship with your suppliers are crucial to ensuring quality ingredients and produce delivered to your door. How are the relationships between you and your suppliers?

Angus An-

We have nurtured strong relationships with our suppliers. From the fishermen, to our friends who raise hogs, to the tremendous guy who brings us hand-picked heirloom tomatoes harvested that very morning in the summer.

17- What do you do to wind down on your days off?

Angus An-

Read, and relax. I like to design and build things for around the house too.

18- Can you share us a recipe for one of your dishes? 

Angus An– 

Scallop ceviche with seafood nahm jim.

Scallop Ceviche with Seafood Nahm Jim

Seafood Nahm Jim

  • 1/4 Cup Sliced Galangal
  • 5 Green Thai bird’s Eye Chillies
  • 2 Red Thai Bird’s Eye Chillies
  • 8 cloves Garlic
  • 1/4 cup chopped Coriander Root
  • 2 Red Chilli Peppers, deseeded
  • 1/3 cup Granulated Sugar
  • 2/3 cup Squeezed Lime Juice
  • 1/2 cup Fish Sauce
  • Zest and juice of 1 Makrut Lime (Kaffir)
  • Pinch of Kosher Salt
  1. Place the hardest ingredients in the mortar first, such as galangal slices, Thai bird’s eye chillies, garlic, coriander root, and fruit zest. Always add a pinch of kosher salt to the mortar – it acts an an abrasive and helps break down the fibers. Pound the ingredients with the pestle; the technique isn’t just up-and-down pounding or grinding but a combination of both motions. You want to strike one side of the mortar with pestle and grind it back to the other side. Using your wrist and the momentum of the pestle only. If you’re doing this correctly, it should take you only a minute of two to break down the hardest ingredients. Most importantly, never overcrowd the mortar.
  2. Sliced the deseeded chilli pepper flesh so that it’s easier to break down. Add it to the mortar and continue to pound. Be very careful not to look directly into the mortar while you are pounding as bits of chilli may splash up into your eye. Cover the top of the pestle with one hand if needed to prevent the ingredients from splashing out, as the mixture becomes quite wet. Make sure that the chilli pepper skins are pounded into small pieces; after this point, they wont break down any further.
  3. Add the sugar to the mortar. The sugar will absorb the moisture; instead of pounding, grind it into the mixture with the pestle to further develop a fine paste. The finer your paste, the smoother your dressing will be.
  4. Stir in the liquids: lime juice, fish sauce and makrut lime. Mix with the pestle until the liquids are well incorporated, and let dressing sit for 5 minutes before tasting it; such strong flavours often need time to get to know each other. Adjust to taste if needed. Most of the salad dressings that include fresh lime should be served immediately; however, if you have a little extra left over, you can keep it in the fridge for a couple of days without losing too much freshness. Bear in mind that freshly squeezed lime juice oxidizes very quickly and can’t be kept for long periods of time.

Fried Shallots

  • 4 cups Canola Oil
  • 1 cup thinly sliced shallots, about 1/16 inch
  1. In a medium-size pot, preheat the oil to about 165C/330F. Fry the shallots for about 5 minutes, stirring them occasionally. Toward the end of the cooking time, turn them over a few times with your spider and remove them from the oil when they’re light golden brown.
  2. Use two forks to spread them out evenly to cook on a wire rack with paper towel. This ensures the shallots cool off an crisp up more quickly.
  3. Reserve the fragrant oil for finishing and stir frying.
  4. Store fried aromatics in a lidded container in the pantry for up to 2 weeks.

Scallop Ceviche

  • 4-8 Live Bay Scallops
  • 2 Tablespoons finely sliced Lemongrass, to garnish
  • 2 Tablespoons finely sliced fresh Long Leaf Coriander, to garnish
  • 1 Tablespoon finely julienned Makrut lime leaves (Kaffir), to ganish
  • Few Sprigs Coriander, to garnish
  • 2-4 Tablespoons cured Salmon Roe or sustainable Caviar, to ganish (optional)
  • 2 Tablespoons Fried Shallots, to Garnish
  • Edible Flowers, to garnish (optional)
  1. Clean the scallop shells with a brush to remove all sand and dirt. The shells will be used as presentation and serving pieces.
  2. Using a flexible palette knife, pry open the two shells slightly, wide enough to stick in your thumb. The tension from the shells might feel uncomfortable, but it will be brief. Insert the palette knife and scrape the inside of the top flat shell until you separate the flesh from the shell. Open the flat top completely and flex the palette knife while scraping the bottom bowl-shaped shell. Once the flesh is completely dislodged from the shell, set it aside in a bowl on ice. Scrape the inside of the shells clean and wash them thoroughly; reserve for serving.
  3. To trim the scallop meat, remove the outer mantle and the liver (black piece), keeping the flesh (muscle) and the roe (orange piece). For this recipe, only the muscle is needed; however, the roe is a tasty piece to incorporate into the ceviche should you feel adventurous.
  4. Slice each scallop into four wedges. Place the scallop wedges back onto the shells and dress each with about ½ tablespoon nahm jim.
  5. Garnish with lemongrass, long-leaf coriander, Makrut lime leaves, and coriander sprigs. I also like to serve it with cured salmon roe and an edible flower. Sprinkle the fried shallots on last for texture. Serve immediately.

©Angus An/Maenam Restaurant


CHEF : Angus An

Instagram- Angus An & @Maenam


Maenam Restaurant
1938 W 4th AVE
Vancouver, BC V6J1M5 Canada

Fat Mao Noodles
217 E Georgia St
Vancouver, BC V6A1Z6 Canada

Sen Pad Thai
Unit 7 1666 Johnston St
Vancouver, BC V6H3R5 Canada

Longtail Kitchen
Unit 116 810 Quayside Drive
New Westminster, BC V3M6B9 Canada

Freebird Chicken Shack
188 E Pender St
Vancouver, BC V6A1T3 Canada

Popina Canteen
1691 Johnston St
Vancouver, BC V6H3R5 Canada

©All images on this website are subject to copyright. Please enquire individual photos prior to using it for personal use.

John Chantarasak, AngloThai (London, England)

Half British and Half Thai chef, John Chantarasak draws influences from both his heritage. Having spent time living and working in Bangkok, John returned to his British homeland in 2014 to work at the award winning Thai Restaurant, Som Saa where he became an instrumental member of the team.

In 2018, John decided to leave Som Saa to focus and open his solo venture pop-up AngloThai fusing traditional Thai recipes and flavours with modern techniques incorporating the best of British produce and ingredients to create dishes of unique nature. Driven by his passion and dedication, John has been shortlisted twice for Young British Foodie ‘Chef of the year’. Mot recent, John appeared as a competitor on Great British Menu.


1- How do you define your style of cooking and philosophy behind your pop-up concept, AngloThai? 

John Chantarasak- 

AngloThai draws influence from both sides of my heritage, on one side, my mother is English and on the other side, my father is Thai. I was born in Liverpool and spent majority of my life growing up in Britain but since discovering Thai cuisine, I’ve been fascinated by Thailand’s food, ingredients and culture. The food I cook is based on dishes I have eaten in Thailand or sometimes, versions of dishes my grandmother cooked for us as children. The difference being the use of seasonal British produce in favour of imported ingredients. I’m big on nose-to-tail cooking and where possibly try to utilise all parts of an animal, fish, vegetable or fruit in my dishes. By default, there is a certain level of fermentation and preservation in my cooking to live this ethos of little waste.

2- What will/should your diners expect when they dine at one of your pop-up lunches/dinners? 

John Chantarasak-

I want the eating experience to be relaxed and casual, I’m not really about set menus and white table clothes when dining out. I’m a big natural wine fan and spend most of my free time drinking in wine bars, trying new bottles and eating small plates to accompany the juice. I try to bring this style of eating to AngloThai – all food is designed to be had with wine and guests are invited to have as many or as few plates as they wish. AngloThai takes influence from some of my favourite wine bars in London and the long term goals is to split the focus equally across the food and wine offering.

3- When and how did you know you wanted to be a chef? Who and what inspired you to cook? 

John Chantarasak-

My professional cooking career took off fairly late in the day, I previously worked in finance and before that, I was a musician. I felt very disillusioned by London life in 2013 and embarked on a road trip across America from some soul searching, during those months on the road, I realised majority of my decision making for destinations in the states were based on restaurants I wanted to visit and dishes I needed to try. Long story short, I didn’t know if I could cut it in a professional kitchen environment so I enrolled in a catering college in Bangkok, and from there, I found myself working in Thai kitchens in my downtime. One of those kitchens was the world famous Nahm run by David Thompson. When I left Thailand to return home, David advised me to make contact with Andy Oliver (Owner/Head Chef- Som Saa). Two weeks after meeting Andy, we opened Som Saa as a pop-up in London Fields, which led to us crowdfunding the now bricks and mortar restaurant in East London. Andy’s probably the most inspiring chef I’ve worked with, really selfless and completely transparent with his knowledge – I learnt so much in the five years I was at Som Saa.

4- Thai food varies from regions to regions. Food from the central of Thailand, South, North and the Northeast are different and very unique on it’s own. Can you tell us more about the food and how it changes and varies from region to region? 

John Chantarasak-

I would hate to generalise as this is such a vast topic of discussion. But from what I’ve experienced and understand, the South tends to be rich and hot from the plentiful of chillies, turmeric and coconut cream – due to the abundance of coconut palms growing in this area of the country. Fresh seafood is used liberally and the dishes tend to be complex in flavour and profile. Food is spicy and pungent in this region, with prime examples being Gaeng Tai Pla (fermented fish innards curry) and Kua Kling (dry fried curries pork with turmeric, lemongrass and chillies).

Northeastern Thailand, commonly referred as to Issan tends to be spicy from chillies and pungent from the use of nahm pla raa (fermented fish sauce). In Issan, som tam (pounded green papaya salad) and laab (hand minced meat salad) are king, with hundreds of different varieties available. Food here is typically acidic, from lime juice and tamarind water, and salty from fish sauce and nahm pla raa, with little to no use of coconut cream and sugar.

North Thailand dishes are generally less hot and spicy than those typically found in Issan and the south. I recently got back from a trip to this region and found the taste profile of dishes to be umami and meaty with liberal use of fresh herbs – not only give aromatic freshness but also bitterness and astringency – which are prised flavouts in the North. There is an indigenous dried spiice called makhwaen (prickly ash) – a relative of Sichuan peppercorn that can be found in a lot of dishes from this region. Makhwaen and other interesting dried spices like Javanese long pepper and Malaep form the backbone of a spice mix called prik laab that gives a deep complexity to the laab from this region.

Central Thailand tends to be a melting pot that draws influences from all over the country, The dishes are more rounded and refined that found regionally. The use of coconut cream and sugar is more prevalent and the influence from china is apparent in wok technique dishes – the most famous being pat thai. But as I say, this is a massive sweeping generalisation and one should go explore first hand to gain a comprehensive understanding.

5- What do you think are the most understood aspects and views of Thai food outside of Thailand?

John Chantarasak-

Ask most people, perhaps even those fairly well travelled, what they recognise as Thai cuisine and I’m sure any will site pad thai and green curry as their understanding. It’s not that those dishes can’t be delicious but most perceptions are a far cry from the versions you would find in Thailand, with these dishes misrepresented when cooked on foreign soil. Perhaps, it’s because I’ve chosen to venture down the rabbit hole of discovering with Thai cuisine, but I feel there are countless numbers of dishes that exist in Thailand just waiting to be discovered. It has to be one of the most vast cuisines in the world so to be represented globally by just a handful of dishes is a great shame.

6- Having just spent some time in Thailand, what have been the most eyeopening experience and enlightening moments during your trip?

John Chantarasak-

I was fortunate enough to stay with the villagers from the Ahka-er and La-hu tribes in Chiang Rai Provence of Northern Thailand on this trip. It was a completely humbling and rewarding experience for so many reasons. The generosity shown by these people was astonishing, not only with their hospitality, but with their transparency passing on knowledge for their regional cuisine. Meeting locals and soaking up local knowledge is essential in these experiences, the amount you can learn in just a short period of time is amazing. Although, you do need to hit the brakes on the big city pace of life to allow yourself to fully gain an immersive experience.

7- Thai food by nature is perceived as a cheap cuisine and many people who might not realise the time, cost and labour that goes behind each dish. They might opt for cheaper restaurants where shortcuts are taken and tinned pastes/coconut cream are used. What are your thoughts of this and why you think people should be spending more money on restaurants that are retaining and preserving the art of preparing and making things from scratch.

John Chantarasak-

Personally I think it runs deeper than just disagreeing with the use of these mass produced and commercial products in restaurants. I understand that families need to balance how they spend their income and unfortunately that often means compromise in quality of food. Thai cuisine isn’t the indigenous food of Britain and if anything is still fairly new and exotic, therefore freshly made curry paste and pressed coconut cream aren’t readily available from the local market or store like in Thailand. The cheaper, more accessible option is going to be Thai food cooked using commercial products at a commercial price. I do agree though that the customer needs to understand that sourcing of quality ingredients, labour and sustainable ethos comes at a price that is not always in conjuncture with ‘cheap’ spending. However that’s the same with anything from food, drink, clothing and beyond. Quality comes at a price.

8- Can you explain to us the creative process when planning a dish, making it from start to finish?

John Chantarasak- 

Seasonality has become more and more important to me so I tend to start forming a dish by looking at what’s local and seasonal right now. Once I have that in mind I think how those ingredients can be interpreted into Thai cookery. An example of this would be during our rhubarb season in the UK I try to introduce this acidic ingredient into classically Thai dishes – think rhubarb dtom yum (hot and sour soup) that uses fresh rhubarb juice as its souring agent instead of lime juice. Most of the dishes I cook usually derives from Thai dishes that I’ve either eaten or previously cooked, with the introduction of British ingredients that change with the seasons.

9- Have you got a mentor or figure that you particularly admire/respect throughout your career as a chef?

John Chantarasak-

As mentioned previously I would site Andy Oliver (Som Saa) as a massive inspiration – not only as a boss but a mentor and a close friend. Andy’s seen me at my finest and at times my worst. Kitchen life can be extremely tough and sometimes you need someone with experience to offer support and pick you up when you’re feeling down and out.

10- Top 5 ingredients to have in your pantry.

John Chantarasak –

Garum – Basically an old Roman method of preservation that can be likened to fish sauce although some very forward thinking kitchens these days have made garum from all manner of ingredients including plants and vegetables. I combine leftover fish bones, guts and trim with British sea salt to produce a sort of anglo tasting fish sauce that I use to season dishes.

Horseradish – l use fresh horseradish root in replacement to chillies at times to give heat and spice to dishes.

Makhwaem – indigenous spice to Northern Thailand, slightly spicy, numbing and citrus – relative of Sichuan peppercorn.

Animal fat – I love the depth of flavour animal fat can give to your food, be that beef dripping, rendered pork lard or some good quality chicken fat. You can get the flavour and mouth feel of protein without actually using meat protein.

Chillies – Despite using horseradish nothing beats the real deal sometimes, dried or fresh, chillies feature heavily in all of my food. Some top chillies are being grown in the UK these days to feed our addiction to this exotic ingredient.

11- Top 5 favourite produce to work with.

John Chantarasak-

Local and seasonal produce. I particularly love cooking with fish and seafood, of which the British Isles has a whole plethora – some of the best in the world!

12- Favourite kitchen tool?

John Chantarasak- 

In a Thai kitchen it’s for to be the pok pok (pestle and mortar), in the western world I’m a total sucker for a classic scarlet handled maurice spatula. I use both of these tools daily in my preparation of food. Every cook should also have a decent chef knife. Look after it, keep it sharp and it’ll improve your cooking infinitely.

13- What has been the most funky Thai ingredient or dish that you cannot get your head around.

John Chantarasak-

To be honest I’ve got a ‘funkier the better’ attitude when it comes to all food, not just Thai cuisine. Saying that, it took me a little while to get to grips with pla raa (fermented fish sauce) but I think once you master using this sort of umami ingredient you have a level of seasoning that isn’t often apparent in other cuisines. At times I also find it hard agreeing with the vast array of astringently bitter herbs and vegetables found in Northern Thailand, but if eaten in the correct context as part of a balanced meal they become a lot more agreeable

14- Have you got any advice to young chefs or any chefs that are dwelling into the world of Thai food? 

John Chantarasak- 

Explore, taste, explore some more and taste again. Don’t be afraid to embrace flavours, ingredients and techniques that first appear foreign, these are often the most exciting things about Thai cuisine. Reading and cooking from Arharn Thai (Thai Food) by David Thompson is a very good starting point. David’s book not only breaks down and explains all manor of dishes but it also goes in the deep history of Thailand and its connection with food. Other good resources are The Food of Northern Thailand (Austin Bush) and Pok Pok (Andy Ricker) which help to bridge the gap between the often confusing world of Thai cookery with that of the western world.

15- What is the secret to training/attaining a Thai palate.

John Chantarasak-

You need to cook and taste constantly. Over all the different cuisines and kitchens I’ve cooked in I still find that Thai cuisine holds the greatest demands on tasting and adjusting as you cook. It’s a constant building and layer of flavours whilst also balancing the salty, sweet, sour, spicy, bitter and umami.

16- There is a much greater coverage and understanding of Thai food compared to many years ago. With Michelin arriving in Thailand and more Thai restaurants featured on the Asia’s 50 best list. What are you thoughts of the Thai culinary scene in the upcoming years to come?

John Chantarasak-

Positive. I felt on this recent trip that the wealth of restaurants now pushing the cuisine has grown dramatically. In Bangkok you of course have Bo.lan and Nahm but now there are places like 100 Mahaseth, Sorn and 80/20 which are looking to challenge the younger generation of Thai cooks out there to cook their domestic cuisine and showcase it to the world. Working as a chef or in a kitchen is no longer seen as a low tier job anymore and it’s positive to see that there are young Thai chefs aspiring to cook at the highest level. I was also fortunate enough to visit Chef Num in Udon Thani and to eat at his restaurant Samuay & Sons on this trip. Num is an extraordinary character with a wealth of knowledge about Thai cuisine and a focus on sustainability. It’s people like Num that the culinary scene needs in Thailand right now.

17- Where are your favourite restaurants to go to in London? Or anywhere in the world.

John Chantarasak-

London – Som Saa, Black Axe Mangal, P. Franco, A Wong, Kiln, The DairyOuter London – Coombeshead Farm (Cornwall), Carter’s of Moseley (Birmingham), The Sportsman (Whitstable)Rest of the world – Relae (Copenhagen), Burnt Ends (Singapore), Bo.lan (Bangkok), Osteria del Mirasole (Bologna)

18- What are the future plans for John Chantarasak and AngloThai?

John Chantarasak-

Since leaving Som Saa at the end of last year I’ve been cooking a whole bunch of pop-ups around the UK, Europe and Asia. I’ve got a few more of those style events lined up for the immediate future and then I’m looking to take up a long term residency here in London for the summer months, with a long term view to opening something next year. That’s at least the plan but the goal posts continually shift so ask me again in six months time!

19- Can you share us a recipe for one of your dishes? 

John Chantarasak– 

Heritage Tomatoes with Preserved Soybeans & Sawtooth Coriander. (This is a simplified version for home cooks.)

Heritage Tomatoes with Preserved Soybeans and Sawtooth Coriander

Yellow Soybean dressing

  • 6 Tablespoons Vegetable oil (grapeseed oil)
  • 6 Tablespoons Yellow Soybean sauce (healthyboy brand)
  • 1 Teaspoon white caster sugar

Soybean puree

  • 400gm Tinned white soybeans – drained weight (white butter beans can be substituted)
  • 1 Tablespoon Fermented Soybean paste (Korean doenjang paste)
  • 2 Cloves of garlic – pounded into a rough paste and deep fried until golden and crispy
  • Vegetable oil (grapeseed oil)

Tomato salad

  • 300gm Mixed heritage/heirloom tomatoes – A contrast of colours and sizes is best
  • 4 leaves Sawtooth coriander – thinly sliced
  • Deep fried Garlic
  • Tua nao powder – Tua nao discs lightly grilled until fragrant and blitz to a fine powder
  1. Make dressing by emulsifying the yellow beans with the oil, adding the oil gradually like you would make a mayonnaise. Be careful not to split the dressing. Blend very smooth then add sugar. Taste should be salty but rounded with sugar.
  2. Blend the soybean puree ingredients together until completely smooth, start with enough oil to cover and blend, then add slowly to ensure the puree does not split. It should taste very umami and slighty nutty.
  3. Clean and slice all the tomatoes into irregular and different shapes. For example, half cherry tomatoes, slice large beef tomatoes, quarter regular tomatoes etc.
  4. To a mixing boil, add a selection of tomatoes, a pinch of sawtooth coriander and deep friend garlic, then dress with the shaken yellow soybean dressing. Mix together well.
  5. Carefully pour soybean puree into a squeezy bottle and pipe some soybean puree on a plate. Add the dressed tomatoes and garnish with additional sawtooth coriander, deep fried garlic and tua nao powder.

©John Chantarasak


CHEF : John Chantarasak

Instagram- @englishhippy & @anglothai

©All images on this website are subject to copyright. Please enquire individual photos prior to using it for personal use.

Thitid “Ton” Tassanakajohn, Le Du Restaurant and Wine Bar/Baan Restaurant/Nusara (Bangkok, Thailand)

Chef Ton’s passion for cooking started from early memories of home cooked meals by his grandmother. After spending time in America and graduating from the Culinary Institute of America, Chef Ton clocked hours in some of New York’s prestigious restaurants including Eleven Madison Park, The Modern and Jean Georges.

Returning to Bangkok, he opened up Le Du Restaurant and Wine Bar, a fine dining restaurant which showcases the techniques and what he has learnt from his time in New York but not forgetting his roots of Thai flavours and also, Baan, a more casual family style restaurant. His passion does not stop in his restaurants but extends into his commitment as a judge on Top Chef Thailand.

The name Le Du derives from the Thai word for “season,” which also reflects Ton’s use of seasonal produce, along with local sustainable ingredients. This dedication and perseverance has earned the restaurant a ranking of number 20 on the Asia’s 50 best restaurants list and a Michelin star.


1- How do you define your style of cooking and philosophy behind your flagship restaurant Le Du?

Chef Ton

Modern Thai cuisine with not only the taste but the terroir of Thailand. We change the menu according to Thailand’s seasons and We only use 100% local Thai produces. No imported produce.

2- You have another restaurant which is more casual compared to Le Du. Can you tell us more about Baan and the philosophy behind it?

Chef Ton

If Le Du is my passion as a chef, Baan is my soul. It is the food that I grew up eating. I am just serving my childhood memories with my guests and diners.

3- What will/should your diners expect when dining at your restaurants?

Chef Ton

Unpretentious-ness. That is what they should expect in any of my restaurants. I am an easy going guy and the restaurants are the reflections of myself. 

6- When and how did you know you wanted to be a chef. Who and what inspired you to cook?

Chef Ton

After working in a bank for a month, I knew I needed to cook instead. Ha!

5- Thai Food varies from regions to regions. The food from central Thailand, the North, the South and the Northeast are completely different and very unique on it’s own. Can you tell us more/explain about the food and how it changes from region to region.

Chef Ton

Every regions have it’s own style. All cuisines were developed from cultures and availability of products back in the old days. For example, in the real Northern cuisine, they will use rotten bean to season the food instead of shrimp paste because there is no sea and shrimp in the northern parts of Thailand. But what ever the region, Thai food will have it’s own distinct flavours. Also, they all share the same taste, the taste of motherland. 

6- Having lived in America for quite some time, how do you think the western world perceives Thai food?

Chef Ton

They love it! For the right and wrong reasons. I think the Thai foods that most westerner know are not the best representation of Thai Cuisine and I want to change that little by little. 

7- Establishing a great relationship with your suppliers are crucial to ensuring quality ingredients and produce delivered to your door. How are the relationships between you and your supplier?

Chef Ton

I work mostly with small farmers, fishermen and suppliers. Our relationships are very important, we are more like friends rather than business relationships.

8- Wine matching is an essential part of a dining experience; do you work closely with your sommelier to ensure the perfect pairing? 

Chef Ton

I am a certified sommelier from the court of Master Sommelier so yes, I take my wines very serious!

9- How do you bring balance to dishes on the menu. Can you explain to us the creative process when making a dish from start to finish? 

Chef Ton

It takes lots of time to develop one good dish. We always start working 4-6 months on a new menu prior to launching it.

10- Have you got a mentor or figure that you particularly admire/respect throughout your career as a chef? 

Chef Ton

I respect David Thompson – he is a hero of Thai cuisine. He is not Thai but so what? Without him, Thai food will not have come this far on the world stage.

11- Top 5 ingredients to have in your pantry

Chef Ton

Thai bird’s eye Chilli, Thai garlic, good fish sauce, fermented fish and shrimp paste. 

12- Top 5 favourite produce to work with.

Chef Ton

River prawn, local squid, Jicama, egg and rice.

13- Have you got any advice to young chefs or any chefs that are dwelling into the the world of Thai food?

Chef Ton

You got to love it! And if you do, don’t worry as you will do it very well. With hard work and sweat. 

14- There is a much greater coverage and understanding of Thai food compared to many years ago. With Michelin coming to Thailand and more restaurants featured on the Asia’s 50 best list. What are your thoughts of the Thai culinary scene in the upcoming years to come?

Chef Ton

I hope it will keep rising to show the world how good Thai food is. Also showing the refined side of our cuisine. 

15- Where are your favourite restaurants to go to in Bangkok? or anywhere in the world. 

Chef Ton

Except my own restaurants? It will have to be Bo.lan, Eat me, Sorn and Lerdthip.

16- You have 2 restaurants in Bangkok and also a judge on Top Chef Thailand. What are the future plans for Chef Ton?

Chef Ton

Keep making noise for Thai Cuisine – that is my goal.

18- Can you share us a recipe for one of your dishes? 

Chef Ton

River prawn, mountain rice & shrimp paste

River prawn, mountain rice and shrimp paste


  • 500gm Prawn head
  • 3 pieces Red chilli
  • 10gm Galangal
  • 8 pieces Kaffir lime leave
  • 5 pieces Lemongrass
  • 1 Tbs Chilli paste
  • 480ml Cream
  • Salt and lime juice to taste
  1. Roughly slice red chilli, galangal and lemongrass.
  2. Bring prawn head, galangal, lemongrass, kaffir lime leave, red chilli, chilli paste and cream to the boil.
  3. As cream starts to heat up, constantly crush the prawn heads to release it’s flavours into the cream.
  4. Once ingredients have infused and released it flavours, cool and then put into a blender to blend.
  5. Strain through a chinois and season with salt and lime juice.

Mountain rice risotto

  • 1/2 Brown onion
  • 350gm Black rice
  • 250gm Shrimp Paste
  • 1000ml Chicken stock
  • 480ml Cream
  1. Finely dice brown onion.
  2. Heat pot with oil, add onions and cook until slightly translucent in colour.
  3. Transfer the black rice into the pot and saute.
  4. Add a full ladle of stock and constantly stir the black rice with a spatula making sure that the rice is evenly cooked.
  5. Keep adding stock every 2-3 mins.
  6. Once the risotto is al dente, add the shrimp paste and cream. Combine well.

River Prawn

  1. Butterfly cut the prawns in half and leaving the tomalley.
  2. Cook on charcoal with shell down.

©Thitid Tassanakajohn


CHEF : Thitid Tassanakajohn

Instagram- @cheftonn

Le Du Restaurant and Wine Bar

399/3 Silom 7 Alley, Khwaeng Silom, Khet Bang Rak, Krung Thep Maha Nakhon 10500, Bankok

Baan Restaurant

139/5 Wireless Road, Lumphini Pathumwan, Bangkok 10330

Nusara Restaurant

22 Maha Rat Rd, Phra Borom Maha Ratchawang, Phra Nakhon, Bangkok 10200

©All images on this website are subject to copyright. Please enquire individual photos prior to using it for personal use.

Dylan Jones, Bo.Lan/Err Rustic Thai (Bangkok, Thailand)

Australian born chef Dylan Jones grew up in the quiet state of Canberra and eventually moved to Melbourne where he completed his apprenticeship and developed his love for Asian food. After travelling around Thailand, Dylan eventually moved London to work under world renowned Thai chef and expert, David Thompson. It was here where Dylan met Bo and the rest was history. After much persuasion, Dylan decided to move to Thailand with Bo and in the year 2009, restaurant Bo.Lan was born.

The name Bo.lan comes from Chef Duangporn’s nickname Bo and the second half of Dylan’s name Lan. It is also a play on the Thai word for vintage or ancient, which sounds the same but is spelt slightly different. Bo.lan prides itself for working closely with local farmers and feels that it has a social responsibility to the local community.

In 2015, the duo opened ERR. ERR is a casual eatery focusing on the same philosophy of great produce in a casual setting offering street style food.


1- How do you define your style of cooking and philosophy behind your restaurants Bo.lan and Err?

Dylan Jones– 

Essentially Thai! We believe in showcasing and supporting biodiversity of Thai produce as well as safeguarding Thai food Heritage and wisdom.

2- What will/should your diners expect when dining at Bo.lan and Err? 

Dylan Jones– 

Bo.lan they should expect a refined dining experience in which the meal is balanced for them and eaten in the traditional Thai manner of all together with rice as art of a shared meal.

Err is less formal and a little cheeky the food is essentially Thai drinking food or based on street food classics but with the same emphasis and importance’s on ingredients as Bo.lan. We share the same farmers and suppliers.

3- When and how did you know know you wanted to become a chef? Who and what inspired you to cook? 

Dylan Jones– 

I always wanted to travel and couldn’t stand the idea of being sat at a desk for 8 hours or more a day. I enjoyed food and thought that cooking was a great way in which I could travel and also earn some money along the way. My inspiration/s in the cooking have come from many different sources and have affected me in many different ways throughout my career. I’m still getting inspired today by people from all walks of life.

4- Thai food varies from regions to regions. The food from central Thailand, North, South and the Northeast are completely different and unique on it’s own. Can you tell us more/explain about the food and how it changes/varies from region to region?

Dylan Jones– 

Wow, that’s a whole essay or book in itself. I wouldn’t want to generalise but central food is a mix of all the regions produce and techniques. Southern food is rich in coconut, complex and generally quite spicy from fresh chillies. Isaan food is spicy from dried chilli and pungent from pla raa (fermented fish) with lots of acidity. Northern food is heavier, lots of pork or pork fat with a fair amount of dried spices used. 

5- Bo.Lan is renowned for sticking to traditional methods and for conveying the true flavours of Thai food. Many people have misconceptions of Thai food outside of Thailand and most of it comes from misinterpreted dishes that are suited to the palates of that particular country. For instance, from adding too much coconut cream to curries and to over sweetened dishes. How would you convey and explain the true flavour and authenticity of Thai food. 

Dylan Jones– 

Authenticity is such a dirty word! And who am I to say what is authentic Thai, instead I would say my understanding of Thai food is that it is fully flavoured and most often than not well balanced combining a combination of any or all of the following, Hot, Sour, Salty, Sweet, Bitter and Astrigent. 

6- How do you bring balance to each dish on the menu. Can you explain the creative process when making a dish from start to finish?

Dylan Jones– 

The balance on our menu comes from both the individual dishes but also the way several dishes interact/balance/offset each other.

7- In Bo’s episode of Chef’s table, there is a real emphasis in supporting local and small producers as opposed to supporting large commercialised producers. And from this, Bo.lan is now a restaurant with zero carbon footprint. Why is this important to you?

Dylan Jones– 

We have one planet! And in our profession we rely very heavily on Nature for us to do our job.

8- It was a real treat watching Pa jii and Pa dum process palm sugar from start to finish and also watching other producers imparting their knowledge on Bo’s episode of Chef’s table. Ensuring great produce arriving on your door is fundamental to making a dish taste phenomenal. How are your relationship between you and your supplier?

Dylan Jones– 

We have very close relationships with our producers they are the backbone of Bo.lan. We try to visit with them regularly and always keep and open dialog with them so we know what’s coming in and out of season.

9- Have you got a mentor or figure that you particularly admire/respect through out your career as a chef? 

Dylan Jones

I’ve had many and at different stages in my career, from my Mother and grandfather through to professional mentors like Daniel Wilson as an apprentice to David Thompson and Mathew Albert during my time in London.

11- Top 5 favourite produce to work with?

Dylan Jones– 

Anything Local x 5

12- Wine matching is an essential part of a dining experience; do you work closely with your sommelier to ensure the perfect pairing? And is it a challenge pairing wines with Thai food?

Dylan Jones– 

We do work closely with our Sommelier, we spend hours and hours drinking wines to make sure they work with the food.. is it difficult.. ask him?

13- Have you got any advice to young chefs or any chefs that are dwelling into the world of Thai food? 

Dylan Jones– 

Be humble and don’t expect to understand the nuances of Thai food in the first 6 months or year.. I’ve been doing this for.. that doesn’t matter.. and I still have so much to learn.

14- There is a much greater coverage and understanding of Thai food compared to many years ago. With Michelin coming to Bangkok and more restaurants featured on the Asia’s 50 best list. What are your thoughts of the Thai culinary scene in the years to come.

Dylan Jones– 

If people focus on what’s important I think the scene in Bangkok will go from strength to strength, if cooks chase accolades forget it.

15- Where are your favourite restaurants to go to in Bangkok? Or anywhere in the world. 

Dylan Jones– 

In no particular order

Bangkok – Gaa, Appia, Soulfood, Eat Me, Bunker

Thailand – ruen Paan Yaa, Samuay and Sons

Rest of the world – Bras, Burnt Ends, Yardbird, St Johns, Arzak, Sawada, Room 4 Dessert

16- What are your advice for someone who would like to develop a Thai palate? 

Dylan Jones

Eat Thai food, cook lots of Thai food, try other people’s Thai food after they cook it.

17- Tips for making a great curry?

Dylan Jones–  

Use a mortar and pestle, pound the paste yourself and make your own coconut cream.. if the curry requires coconut cream that is.

18- With a Michelin star attached to restaurant Bo.lan and running a second restaurant Err, what are the future plans for Chef Dylan and Chef Bo?

Dylan Jones

Get of the grid, make a self sustaining restaurant would be the ultimate end goal!

19- Can you share us a recipe for one of your dishes.

Dylan Jones– Nahm prik Gapi (Shrimp paste relish)

Nahm Prik Gapi (Shrimp paste relish)

Shrimp paste relish

  • Salt
  • 3 Coriander roots
  • 1 skewer Grilled Thai shallots
  • 5-10 pieces Thai garlic
  • 4-6 pieces Asian shallots
  • 3 Tbs Grilled Gapi
  • 6-10 pieces Mouse shit chilli (prik ki nu)
  • 1-2 Tbs Dried prawn floss
  • Zest of 1/2 Som saa

To season/taste

  • Fish sauce
  • Lime juice (roughly 10 limes)
  • Tamarind water
  • coconut cream


  • Mauek (Furry Aubergine) sliced
  • 1-2 Tbs Grilled pea aubergines
  • 1 Tbs Julienned Tumeric
  • 1/2 zest of Julienned Som Saa
  • Apple Aubergines


  1. Pound the coriander roots, som saa zest and chillies until fine. Add garlic, grilled shallots and raw shallots. Add the shrimp paste and dried prawn.
  2. Season with Palm sugar, fish sauce, lime juice, tamarind water and coconut cream. Taste.
  3. Fold through the vegetables. It should be reasonably spicy, salty and slightly sweet and sour.

Serve with Cha Om Omelette, fresh and cooked vegetables.

To make dried shrimp floss, simple blend dried shrimps in a blender until represent floss.

©Dylan Jones –


CHEF : Dylan Jones

Instagram- @bolanbangkok

Bo.lan / Err Bkk

24 Sukhumvit 53 Alley, Khwaeng Khlong Tan Nuea, Khet Watthana, Krung Thep Maha Nakhon 10110 /

©All images on this website are subject to copyright. Please enquire individual photos prior to using it for personal use.

Ian Kittichai, Issaya Siamese Club (Bangkok, Thailand)

Hailing from Thailand, Ian’s earliest food memories was waking up at 3AM every morning to accompany his mother to the wet markets to select produce for her grocery shop. While Ian was at school, her mother would be busy preparing a dozen different curries and upon return, he would be pushing a food cart filled with his wares, screaming and advertising “Khao Geang Ron Ron Ma Leaw Jaar!” which translates to Hot Curry coming!

After completing high school in Bangkok, Ian moved to London to study English with no intention of becoming a chef. After working part time at the Waldorf Hotel THF, the chef saw potential in Ian’s skill and offered Ian a sponsorship to attend a culinary school in London. From there, he proceeded to Sydney, Australia and spent his years working under renowned Sydney French institution, Claude’s.

Today, Ian oversees his flagship restaurant Issaya Siamese Club, Namsaah bottling trust as well as his cooking school, Issaya cooking studio. Apart from restaurants in Thailand, Ian also consults restaurant Tangerine in Singapore as well as being chef-partner at a dessert bar in NYC. But that does not stop there, Ian is one of the judges on Masterchef Thailand and also one of the Iron chefs on Iron Chef Thailand.


1- How do you define your style of cooking and philosophy behind you flagship restaurant – Issaya Siamese Club?

Ian Kittichai

The thought process when creating Issaya Siamese Club was to make it an immersive and interactive sensory experience for diners. We thought of engaging all five senses – from the visuals of the garden and decor, the music, the food, the plating, the interaction with our staff, etc. The menu features my signature Thai cuisine of traditional ingredients and flavours with varied and progressive cooking methods plated in a non-traditional and playful style. Issaya also features a chefs’ garden where aromatic Thai herbs grow year-round for our guests to see and learn about the produce.

2- What will/should your diners expect when dining at Issaya?

Ian Kittichai

Diners should expect a delicious journey with menu and ingredients highlights from over Thailand.

3- When and how did you know you wanted to become a chef? Who and what inspired you to cook?

Ian Kittichai

I was born in Bangkok and am the only boy of 8 children. When I was growing up, my mother had a green grocery and a food cart. All of my sisters and I would help her. When I was 12 or 13, I would drive my mother to Klong Toey market at 3am in our tuk tuk truck to select produce and ingredients for our food cart. After school, I would push the cart around our neighbourhood to sell the food she had made.

When I finished high school at 16, I begged my mother to let me go to London to study a short course in English. She borrowed money and sent it to me. I got a job as a pot washer at night and serving coffee in the morning at the Waldorf Hotel before school. I was eventually sponsored by the hotel to go to Culinary school. I went on to finish my culinary school and apprenticeship in Sydney, where my mother and sisters had emigrated. It was when I was in Sydney that I really dedicated myself fully to becoming a chef.

My mother and family were my inspiration. 

4- Thai Food varies from regions to regions. The food from central Thailand, the North, the South and the Northeast are completely different and very unique on it’s own. Can you tell us more/explain about the food and how it changes from region to region.

Ian Kittichai

There are 4 distinct culinary regions in Thailand – Central, South, North and Northeast. The dishes and uses of herbs, spices, chillies were traditionally affected by the different environments, access to fresh water or oceans, transportation, regional history and so on. 


  • Access to both fresh water and oceans 
  • Coconut milk
  • Since it is in the centre and of the country and  the seat of the capitals over the centuries, access to a variety of produce, proteins, spices, etc. 
  • Royal cuisine is from this region 
  • Experience/influences from migrations and trading. 


  • Access to the oceans so a lot of seafood 
  • Influence from migration and trading of Chinese and Indian
  • Influence from Southern neighbours – Malay and Peranakan 
  • Influence of religion: Muslims from the Southern Sultanates


  • Landlocked
  • Have a cold season and different growing seasons 
  • Fermentation
  • Drying
  • Do not use coconut milk 
  • Influences from old Lanna Kingdom and “Burmese” (Now Myanmar) cuisines
  • Influences from Chinese as well as hill Tribes


  •  Landlocked 
  • In history, a “moving” border with rival kingdoms and others so overlap with some of the spices and ingredients, etc with the neighbouring countries
  • Fresh water fish, dry ingredients and fermenting
  • Do not use coconut milk 

5- Many people have misconceptions of Thai food outside of Thailand and most of it comes from the misinterpreted versions that are suited for the palates of that particular country. For instances, overly sweet dishes, spice levels and maybe adding a tad too much coconut milk/cream to curries etc. How would you convey and explain the true flavour of Thai food?

Ian Kittichai

This is very difficult to explain on paper. It really has to do with the ingredients and proper use of them, and the freshness of the produce and ingredients that needs to be used. The best way for people to understand is to actually visit Thailand. For a parallel example, the best and most authentic French food I have eaten is in France. The amazing quality of the ingredients and proper cooking of them make all the difference.

6- Establishing a great relationship with your suppliers are crucial to ensuring quality ingredients and produce delivered to your door. How are the relationships between you and your supplier? 

Ian Kittichai– 

I have great relationships with my suppliers. For example we work with a fish monger from a province on the Gulf of Thailand who comes to deliver live fish to Issaya a few times a week.

7- Wine matching is an essential part of a dining experience; do you work closely with your sommelier to ensure the perfect pairing? 

Ian Kittichai

We do not offer any wine paring menus at any of my restaurants as this is not a part of what we offer. For example, at Issaya my business partner is a sommelier and we offer a wide range of wines, cocktails, teas, and other beverages for our diners to have a good selection.

8- How do you bring balance to dishes on the menu. Can you explain to us the creative process when making a dish from start to finish? 

Ian Kittichai– 

For me, the inspiration may come from a memory or a flavor. Sometimes it is the ingredient I am working with. From there I can visualize it and work on how to make the dish come together. I will test the components of the recipe I am creating until the recipe comes together. Sometimes I work with my assistant chefs for their opinions or comments, sometimes I test things out on family and friends. There are many ways to work.

9- You have two cookbooks published. Issaya Siamese Club cookbook and Issaya La Patissiere pastry cookbook. What were your inspiration and philosophy behind these cookbooks. 

Ian Kittichai– 

The restaurants were the inspiration behind the books – a way to bring the memory of the dining experience home with you or to recreate it at home.

10- Have you got a mentor or figure that you particularly admire/respect throughout your career as a chef? 

Ian Kittichai– 

My mother

11- Top 5 ingredients to have in your pantry.

Ian Kittichai– 

For Thai cuisine: Thai Chili, kaffir lime leaves, coriander root, Thai garlic, Thai fish sauce

12- Top 5 favourite produce to work with.

Ian Kittichai– 

For Thai cuisine: Nham Dok Mai mangoes, morning glory vegetable, tamarind, holy basil, Thai shallots

13- Have you got any advice to young chefs or any chefs that are dwelling into the the world of Thai food? 

Ian Kittichai– 

Spend time in Thailand. Learn about Thai ingredients. Learn about each region of Thailand. Listen and watch as some of the best opportunities to learn are from observation.

14- There is a much greater coverage and understanding of Thai food compared to many years ago. With Michelin coming to Thailand and more restaurants featured on the Asia’s 50 best list. What are your thoughts of the Thai culinary scene in the upcoming years to come?

Ian Kittichai– 

I see it continuing to grow and expand. Thais have always been food obsessed and with the younger generations of chefs and diners growing up watching food-centric television, social media, the proliferation of award lists and events, etc. the culinary scene in places like Bangkok is growing. 

15- Where are your favourite restaurants to go to in Bangkok? or anywhere in the world. 

Ian Kittichai– 

In Bangkok, Hoy Todd Chao Lay in Thonglor Road. In New York, Gramercy Tavern never disappoints. I also love the whole fish at Taverna Kyclades in Queens, New York. In Paris – Paul Bert is a favorite. In Barcelona I like to go to Tickets and Bodega 1900.

16- You have restaurants in Bangkok and New York. Also, not to mention your commitments as a consult, as a Masterchef Thailand judge and being one of the Iron Chefs. What are the future plans for Chef Ian Kittichai and Issaya? 

Ian Kittichai– 

My future plans are to continue with my existing restaurants and my f&b consulting company, Cuisine Concept Co., Ltd. Spot Dessert Bar in New York will be expanding beyond its 4 current outlets to soon. I have some other restaurant projects in the works as well.

17- Can you share us a recipe for one of your dishes? 

Yum Hua Plee (Banana Blossom and Heart of Palm Salad)

 Yam Hua Plee Kab Yod Maphrao

 (Banana Blossom and heart of Palm salad with chilli jam dressing)


  • 500ml Tamarind juice
  • 40gm Palm sugar
  • 15ml Soy sauce
  • 50ml Coconut cream
  • 100gm Chilli Jam

Bring Tamarind juice, coconut cream, palm sugar, chilli jam and soy sauce to a boil. Remove from heat and reserve.

Turmeric Cream

  • 110ml Fresh coconut cream
  • 5gm Turmeric powder
  • 5gm Cornstarch

In a saucepan, bring all ingredients to a boil until thickened, stirring constantly. Set aside.

Banana blossom salad

  • 100gm Banana blossom, diced to 2cm pieces
  • 1L Cold water (for preparing banana blossom)
  • 30ml Lime juice
  • 50gm Heart of plam, diced into 2 cm pieces
  • 30gm Shallots, thinly sliced, deep fried
  • 30gm Toasted coconut
  • 5gm Dried chilli flakes
  • 30gm Roasted peanuts, chopped
  • 4 Kaffir lime leaves, veins removed and finely julienned
  • 1 Butterfly pea flower, torn (optional)
  • 5gm Chinese brocolli flowers (Optional)
  • 2gm Red finger chilli peppers, de-seeded and julienned

How to clean and prepare banana blossoms 

  1. Prepare a bath of cold water. Add 30ml lime juice to per 1 litre of water.
  2. Take banana blossom and peel away and discard outer red petals and small white strips of banana flower along with them.
  3. Cut off the tip and the end of the blossom. Split the blossom in half lengthwise, then cut in half again, resulting in a quartered blossom.
  4. Place the four pieces into the water bath to prevent the pieces from oxidising and turning black.
  5. Proceed to peek and clean each layer of the blossom, again making sure to discard the small white strips of banana flower inside.
  6. Dice the cleaned leaves into 2-cm squares, and return the pieces to the water bath as you continue to chop the rest of the leaves.
  7. Once finished, drain the excess water and continue to prepare the salad dish.


  1. Cut the heart of palm into 2 cm squares.
  2. In a saucepan, heat banana blossom and heart of palm with the dressing until warm. Remove from heat.
  3. Toss in fried shallots, toasted coconut, chilli flakes, roasted peanuts and half of kaffir lime and mix together.
  4. Transfer to serving plate. Drizzle some turmeric cream, and garnish with assorted flowers, red finger chilli peppers ad remaining kaffir lime leaves.


CHEF : Ian Kittichai

Instagram- iankittichai

Issaya Siamese Club

4 Soi Sri Aksorn, Chua Ploeng Road, Sathorn, Bangkok.

©All images on this website are subject to copyright. Please enquire individual photos prior to using it for personal use.

Andy Oliver and Mark Dobbie, Som Saa Restaurant (London, England)

Cooking has always been a love affair for Chef Andy Oliver and after completing university, he found a job in telecoms but it is not until in his mid twenties when he started taking food seriously. After getting through to the finals of Masterchef UK 2009, he started doing stages at lots of different restaurants in London but the one that blew him away and caught his eye was Nahm, a Michelin starred restaurant run by legendary Thai chef and expert, David Thompson. This is where Andy met Mark and after clocking hours in Nahm, Andy found himself spending two and half years in Bangkok living and working in the kitchens of Bo.Lan where he further researched and gained a better understanding of the country’s cuisine.

Mark Dobbie started cooking at the age of 15 and ended up spending time at one of Australia’s most famous food institutions, Spirit house where it is renowned for it’s take on Thai food. Following his time in Spirit house, Mark then moved to London to work at Restaurant Nahm and after Nahm London closed to move to Bangkok, Mark went on to America to work for another legendary Thai chef who specialises in Northern Thai Food, Andy Ricker and he was part of the team that earned it a Michelin Star.

Both Andy and Mark co-owns and runs one of London’s most awarded Thai restaurant, Som Saa in the bustling parts of Spitalfields.


1- How do you define your style of cooking and philosophy behind your restaurant, Som Saa?

Andy Oliver and Mark Dobbie– 

At Som Saa, we try to cook food as you find it in Thailand, using the best of British and Thai ingredients. We make as much as we possibly can in house – from curry pastes and coconut cream to plaa som (rice fermented fish) and Northern sai oua sausage. We cook food from around Thailand’s regions and often lesser known dishes, either because they are regional specialties or because they are older recipes which are no longer as commonly found.

Fundamentally though, our aim is simple: to run a warm and welcoming restaurant, that serves delicious Thai food with great service and good drinks to match.

2- What will/should your diners expect when dining at Som Saa?

Andy Oliver and Mark Dobbie– 

Som Saa is located in a former fabric warehouse in East London. The setting is relaxed and casual but we’re serious about the food and drinks. We have a bar, and there’s great wine list and an exciting selection of Thai ingredient-led cocktails. When it comes to the food diners can expect uncompromising flavours and both set and a la carte menus on offer. Our servers will be on hand to help guide customers in ordering a good balance of dishes.

3- When and how did you know know you wanted to become a chef? Who and what inspired you to cook? 

Mark Dobbie– 

I started cooking at around 15 years of age via a school based apprenticeship in Brisbane, Australia. After bouncing around a few places I began cooking with Kelly Lord who eventually moved to the Spirit House on the Sunshine Coast. I followed Kelly. I feel my time there shaped a lot of what I do today. From the introduction to a specific cuisine that I have now pursued for over a decade, to the culture we have in the kitchen and restaurant – that all stemmed from Kelly and the Brierty family who own and operate The Spirit House.

Andy Oliver- 

I started cooking from a young age but not professionally. I only realised I wanted to be a chef in my mid-twenties; a love cooking and eating just slowly drew me in. In terms of who first inspired me, David Thompson’s name has to be at the top of the list. He introduced me to a type of Thai food that was all at once exciting, complex, beguiling and confusing. Like for many others, working for David was a turning point for me.

4- It can be a challenge to educate diners about what Thai food is/how it should taste because diners might not know the effort and time that goes through into making pastes and dressings as well as understanding the flavour profiles of different individual dishes.

People also tend to think that Thai food and other Southeast Asian cuisines are meant to be cheap due to the reputation of Thai takeaways offering cheap prices and the affordability when travelling to these individual countries. Has it been a challenge running a Thai restaurant in England and what would you say is the most misunderstood aspect of Thai food from a chef and diners’ point of view.

Andy Oliver and Mark Dobbie– 

We are quite fortunate to have adventurous diners here. Something that helped us gain a foothold at the beginning was that people were excited about the lesser know dishes that we were excited to make and research.

I think one of the most misunderstood aspects of Thai food like you mention is the amount of work that goes into it we have one person who spends about 4 hours every single day making fresh coconut cream. Canned coconut cream is available and we could cut costs significantly if we were to use that but the final product is never the same, that compromise is not worth it in our eyes.

5- Establishing a great relationship with your suppliers are crucial to ensuring seasonal and quality ingredients delivered to your door. How are the relationships between you and your suppliers?

Andy Oliver and Mark Dobbie– 

Finding the right suppliers and building good relationships with them is something that we’ve worked hard at since the very beginnings of som saa. As a result, we have now got to a position where we have a fantastic selection of suppliers, from specialists in highly seasonal UK game, our butchers and fish suppliers in Cornwall (a county in Southwest UK) to our specialist Thai importers. It’s been hard work to find them, and to work with them to find the right products for us, but now we have, they are a real asset and a big part of what makes Som Saa good.

Special mention has to also go to our Thai importer, who each week sources and delivers to us often obscure, artisan or highly seasonal ingredients, plus specialist equipment, plates and countless other stuff. Much of which we could previously have only dreamt of as being available to us.

6– Is it a challenge to find Thai ingredients in England? For instance, fresh Krachai, Kaffir lime. etc

Andy Oliver and Mark Dobbie– 

It definitely has been in the past but rather serendipitously during our opening period we met a supplier named Tana who is now extremely crucial to the restaurant. He’s Thai and fortunately for us, enjoys the food. He really goes out of his way to find all the weird and wonderful stuff we pester him for from ma-leep and tua nao in the north to nahm boo-doo and satdor beans in the south along with all the flowers, vegetable and leaves for the restaurant, he’s our guy.

Unfortunately though, Kaffir limes and their leaves are banned from import so a few years back we began working with a farm in Spain and now get fresh leaves and when in season fruit straight from there.

7- Can you explain to us the creative process from when planning a dish – making it from start to finish?

Andy Oliver and Mark Dobbie– 

For us the first stage of putting on a dish always starts with research – to try to discover and understand as much as we can about where it comes from, what traditionally (or commonly) goes in the dish, the techniques, and to find out as much as we can on the cultural or historical background and significance of the dish. It’s commonly the case that are various ways of cooking one recipe, often using quite different techniques, ingredients and regional or even hyperlocal variants, plus frankly there’s just a lot of different styles of Thai food out there. So trying to dig into some of this learn as much as we can is an important first step. Quite often we enlist the help of some extremely knowledgeable chefs and friends in Thailand, who know Thai food very well and can often help answer our questions or at least help us untangle the often knotted ball of information the you end up with by trying to research less known dishes.

The other major piece of the puzzle are the ingredients: what’s in season? what do we need to source from Thailand to make the dish properly? what is the appropriate meat or fish to use? Then the final layer is testing the dish and working how do we want it to look, to taste and how should it fit in to our menu. This process can sometimes require several iterations and tweaks before we’re finally ready to put the dish on the menu. We’re fortunate that there’s two of us running the kitchen, so there’s always a knowledgeable second opinion on hand to taste any new dish with.

8- Have you got a mentor or figure that you particularly admire/respect throughout your career as a chef?

Andy Oliver and Mark Dobbie- 

As previously mentioned David Thompson has been a major inspiration to both of us – as through his books, but also as a chef, a boss, a friend and a mentor. We also have profound admiration for Bo and Dylan who run Bo.lan restaurant. Their dedication to Thai food, to championing small artisan producers, to environmental causes and to their restaurant and all that it stands for is a constant source

9- Top 5 ingredients to have in your pantry.

Andy Oliver and Mark Dobbie-

  • Good quality palm sugar (unadulterated with additives or refined sugars)
  • Phrik laab (a complex spice mix from Northern Thailand)
  • Gapi (shrimp paste)
  • Small and large dried chillies (for curry pastes, roasted chilli powders etc)
  • Fish sauce

10- Top 5 favourite produce to work with.

Andy Oliver and Mark Dobbie-

It varies all the time and there’s so much to choose from, but right now:

  • Cornish seafood – like monkfish, mussels and crab
  • Wild game from Yorkshire – such as mallard (wild duck) and venison
  • The palm sugar we use – it comes from an artisan Thai producer and tastes floral and like butterscotch.
  • Lesser known Thai herbs – like cumin leaf, and sour ‘chamuang’ leaf
  • New crop jasmine and sticky rice – good rice is central to good Thai food!

11- Favourite kitchen Tool?

Andy Oliver and Mark Dobbie- 

That’s easy – the “krok” or pestle and mortar.

12- Have you got any advice to young chefs or any chefs that are dwelling into the world of Thai food?

Andy Oliver and Mark Dobbie- Thai food can be confusing, it often has complex flavours, multi layered seasoning and a dizzying array of ingredients and techniques. On top of that is often huge variation in the way it is cooked by different chefs – you can eat the same dish in different places and it will look and taste completely different.

So, the challenge is to create your own frame of reference i.e an idea of which way to follow, how to cook, how to season, what you consider “right”, “correct”, “your style”, “authentic” or however you want to describe it. We certainly don’t have all the answers but our advice would be read widely, and to travel to Thailand to eat the food – not just in Bangkok, but out to the regions and the countryside too. Slowly you can start to piece together the puzzle. We’ve been cooking the cuisine for more than 10 years and we feel we’re still just scratching the surface of what there is to learn!

13- There is a much greater coverage and understanding of Thai food compared to many years ago. With Michelin arriving in Thailand and more Thai restaurants featured on the Asia’s 50 best list. What are your thoughts of the Thai culinary scene in the upcoming years to come?

Andy Oliver and Mark Dobbie- It’s great it looks like it’s going gangbusters. It’s really exciting to see some of the chefs utilising spices and ingredients in a creative format and from where I stand there is still a whole lot of exploring available to them. We spent some time with Num from Samuay and sons last time we were in Thailand, he has a depth of knowledge of Thai cuisine, a thorough understanding of the history and access to local and indigenous ingredients you would be hard pressed to find in Bangkok all of that matched with his creative flare make for a meal that undoubtedly should be on the world stage. I hope to see restaurants like Samuay and sons, 100 Mahaseth and Le du keep pushing the envelope whilst staying true to the food and inspiring young chefs to do the same. Which I’m sure they already do I think the Thai culinary scene is only going to get better and better.

14- Where are your favourite restaurants to go to in London? Or anywhere in the world.

Andy Oliver and Mark Dobbie- 

In London

Lyle’s, Kiln, Londrino, P Franco, 40 Maltby Street, outside of London Coombeshead farm, Penson’s, Inver, Igni, Uncle Boons and the Sportsman.

In Thailand

Bo.lan holds a special place in our hearts, and anywhere where David Thompson is cooking of course.

15- What are the future plans of Andy Oliver, Mark Dobbie and Som Saa?

Andy Oliver and Mark Dobbie- We are slowly working toward opening another Thai restaurant in London, we hope to have some more news on that in 2019! From there let’s see, it’s always been one step at a time for us.

16- Can you share us a recipe for one of your dishes?

Gaeng Kua Dtok Kajorn (Kua Style Curry with Winter Melon and Flowers)

Gaeng Kua Dtok Kajorn

                    ( Kua Style Curry with Winter Melon and Flowers)                           

  • 125gm Kua curry paste – see recipe below
  • 250gm Fresh coconut cream
  • 15gm Palm sugar
  • 15gm Fish sauce
  • A pinch of sea salt
  • 75gm Coconut milk
  • 3 Kaffir limes leaves, torn

Curry Paste

  • 30gm Shallots peeled and sliced
  • 30gm Peeled garlic whole cloves
  • 15gm Galangal peeled and sliced
  • 30gm Lemongrass peeled and sliced
  • 3gm Corinader roots, cleaned
  • 10gm Tumeric, peeled
  • 7gm Large dried chillies, Snipped and soaked
  • 1gm Kaffir lime zest, no white pith
  • 2gm Maldon salt
  • 3gm Dried fish (Plaa grop)
  1. Pound all the ingredients in a granite mortar and pestle from the hardest ingredients first with the salt to the softest. This should be pounded to a reasonably smooth paste.


  1. Put the 250g of freshly pressed coconut cream into a pot or wok and simmer over a medium heat until the cream splits into a crud and an oil. This may take about 10 minutes. Add the curry paste and fry for another 10 minutes or so smelling as you go. You will be able to smell the paste change as it cooks. The shallots will become less raw whilst the lemongrass and galangal will become more prominent around the same time the fragrance is changing you should be able to begin to see the colour of the paste change and the oil come to the surface.
  2. Now add the palm sugar then the fish sauce, cook in for another minute or two before adding the coconut milk, kaffir lime leaves and half the thick coconut cream
  3. Simmer for 5 minutes more, before adding the rest of the cream.  Simmer again until the oil just begins to return to the surface.

Taste:  it should lightly seasoned – a fraction sweet and salty – but still have a lightness and a taste of fresh coconut cream / milk.

Vegetables / garnish:

Winter melon or gourds, braised squash of some sort – cooked in coconut milk with a little salt, plus banana shallot, pandan and lemongrass.

Red and green chillies sliced around the seeds

Kajorn flowers or kae flowers, makham thet, betel leaves, salak (snakefruit)

Finished curry:

  • should be a little rich but not too thick  
  • it should be seasoned and well rounded but with a lightness and a taste the cream / milk.  
  • it should have a little shine but not be oily.
  • It should be finished with some fruit, if salak is not available finishing the seasoning with tamarind is a good substitute
  • Garnish with julienne kaffir lime leaf and a splash of fresh cream

©Andy Oliver and Mark Dobbie


CHEFS : Andy Oliver and Mark Dobbie

Instagram- oliverandy & mark.dobbie  Restaurant- somsaa_london

Som Saa Restaurant

 43A Commercial St, Shoreditch, London E1 6BD, UK

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