It is just over 3 years ago that this photograph was taken.
Second from the left is Gordon Brough who was the visiting chef for the evening. Yes that was me and I was cooking Thai food for my friend Darius, in his restaurant.
Each dish that I cooked was fresh. I could have just made big pots of food and ladelled it out but the result would have been awful. The food would have been mushy just like I have seen in some cafeterias or one of the ‘Sunday Roasts’ that some pubs do very badly. My food has to be fresh and authentic when I cook Thai. The Thai’s that I know are very fussy about their food and so it has to be to a high standard.
I used only the freshest vegetables, which I bought from a Thai supermarket in Chiswick, London. I was so pleased to be able to get both Thai aubergines, kaffir lime leaves and Thai sweet basil. They didn’t have holy basil but I didn’t need it for my food. My Thai food has to be authentic. That is the philosophy of the chefs who train me.
I have worked with Darius in his kitchen before but that has been with him in charge and he is amazing. He creates a high energy just like so many chefs and if the food is not up to his standard then it doesn’t go out. This time I am the chef and Darius switched roles brilliantly. He showed a keen interest in everything that I was doing; from the prep to service.
The evening went so well and one of the diners who was a Thai lady commented on how authentic the food was. Some people came to the kitchen to say how much they had enjoyed their meals which was really nice. It is strange how I find compliments difficult to take even though I am flattered by them.
Before I became busy in the kitchen I managed to get out into the restaurant and speak to some of the diners. I was able to introduce myself and it gave me the chance to explain the food to the customers. I also welcomed the opportunity to get to know some of the people personally. This is something that I encourage restaurant owners to do when I have coached them.
The photograph was taken at the end of the evening and we were exhausted. I always am at the end of a service but this was different. I had cooked 86 individual Thai meals and it was great. I love challenges, especially when it involves working outside my comfort zone. I am constantly telling people that their next success lies outside their comfort zone and I do my best to help them.
I love the feeling when I have achieved something and I am thinking about what my next challenge will be. Watch this space to find out.