How did you get into cooking?
I started cooking my own meals at the age of 16 and ended up working for a restaurant near my school. After three years there, I began an apprenticeship at the Grand Hyatt and travelled through Europe working as a chef before I finally ended up in London at the end of 2004.
How did you get involved with Rocket?
I worked with Zuma, a contemporary Japanese restaurant in London and was involved with their openings in Hong Kong, Dubai and Miami. I came to Bangkok in 2011 as the executive chef for the chain and eventually met the Sapparot group. We instantly connected and I joined their team in 2013, designing all 3 menus for the branch of Restaurants in Soi 12 (Rocket S.12, U.N.C.L.E., and Lady Brett).
What is the most challenging part of being a chef?
The most challenging – but also the most interesting – thing is to really go into detail with local products, especially here in Thailand. It’s a tough process to single out the right suppliers and the right teams, and to gain an understanding not only of what products are available, but also to see this produce in the right context. Integrating local products appropriately into a Western-style cuisine is a skill that I am constantly developing.
How do you incorporate local produce into your work?
Rocket is heavily focused on using ingredients that come from Thailand. We try to go organic wherever possible and I’ve found that using local products underlines a unique identity in our recipes. Going local allows you to end up with a fresher, less travelled product with a lower ecological footprint. Experimenting with fresh produce and adapting to Thailand’s cuisine allows us to really build creativity to take the best out of what Thailand has to offer.
Which Rocket dish do you feel combines the Scandinavian and Thai influences successfully?
The Grilled Chicken Sandwich, which is a relatively new dish, is one that I really feel epitomizes the two cuisines. We used organic sunflower shoots – a Thai delicacy – and local oranges as a garnish and combined this with Scandinavian-style cooking. As per the Thai culture, we gave this dish a kick with some spice, and we serve it with a hardy, Scandinavian-reminiscent bread made in our in-house bakery. Our Silky Tofu dish, using fresh homemade tofu with a chili and lemongrass dressing is another great dish that incorporates the local cuisine.
What was your most fun dish to create?
I really enjoyed working on the Swedish meatballs, which were launched with the opening of Rocket S.49. As Rocket is a restaurant with Scandinavian roots, we wanted to keep the dish as authentic as possible and we had a lot of fun incorporating the dish into our menu.