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.
– QUESTIONS AND ANSWERS WITH DYLAN JONES –
1- How do you define your style of cooking and philosophy behind your restaurants Bo.lan and Err?
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?
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?
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?
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.
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?
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?
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?
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?
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?
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?
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?
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.
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.
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?
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?
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?
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
- 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
- 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
- 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.
- Season with Palm sugar, fish sauce, lime juice, tamarind water and coconut cream. Taste.
- 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 –
– FURTHER INFORMATION –
CHEF : Dylan Jones
Bo.lan / Err Bkk
24 Sukhumvit 53 Alley, Khwaeng Khlong Tan Nuea, Khet Watthana, Krung Thep Maha Nakhon 10110
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