Meet The Chefs
Wednesday, July 29, 2020
You may be familiar with the food, but what about the faces in our kitchen? It’s time to say hello! Meet Head Chef William and Sous Chef Gade —bringing you the authentic flavours of Thailand, available for takeout, delivery, or in our Thai Market. Check out the questions we asked to get to know them a little better!
Question: Where were you born?
Head Chef William (W): I was born in Ubon Ratchathani, which is a Province in Northeastern Thailand.
Sous Chef Gade (G): I was born in Bangkok, Thailand.
Q: When did you start cooking? Was cooking always a big part of your early life?
W: I started cooking a long time ago! My family and I were mainly harvesting rice, raising chickens, pigs and growing vegetables for food, and we would sell anything that we would have an excess of. Because I was too young and couldn’t help much in the rice fields, I started helping my mom with cooking and delivering food for the family who was working in the rice field. As I grew older, my mom would sometimes let me cook. I would always go out fishing to catch some crabs, insects, and frogs as extra food for the family. I would get teased by the family members saying, “Hey for today’s lunch we have got grilled frogs, curry frogs and stir-fried frogs” and everyone would laugh so hard.
G: My family owns a small restaurant in Thailand, where they serve dishes from the noodle bar and made-to-order food that is very popular in there. I was helping out since I was around 5 or 6 years old! But because I was so little and scared of sharp knives and the sizzling hot oil, my mom put me in charge of mostly food prep and front-of-house tasks like taking orders and serving. I also took a Japanese cooking class, as a hobby, when I was in high school and this made me develop my cooking skills even more. But even though I knew how to cook rice or make noodle soup since I was 6, I didn’t seriously start cooking until I joined the Bangkok Garden family.
Q: What’s your connection to BG/How long have you worked here?
W: My mom was one of the original chefs here at Bangkok Garden since it opened back in 1982! I was working with my mom since then. She loved to cook and made sure that everyone in the family was well-fed. Over the years, I have learned a lot from her, including recipes and techniques that I bring into the kitchen with me today.
G: I’ve been a part of Bangkok Garden for 8 years now. My sister was actually working for Elmwood Spa, our sister spa located in the same building, and she was the one who suggested that I apply for a job here. Though it was unexpected and completely by chance that I came across this opportunity, I am so fond of the restaurant and the people, and have developed a real bond over the years.
Q: What’s your favourite Thai ingredient? Why? What are some dishes it’s used in?
W: I can’t pick just one! Some of my favourite Thai ingredients and ones that I have all the time in our kitchen pantry are: fish sauce, oyster sauce, soy sauce, palm sugar or sugar, lime leaves, galangal and lemongrass, coriander, basil, Birdseye chili, dry and fresh garlic. We use herbs for salads, soups, curries pastes and meat marinades.
G: There are two of them! Lime and Nam Prik Poa (Roasted sweet chili paste). I love anything sour and need to add it to every dish. Prik poa gives a unique sweet flavour that helps enrich the dish. I normally put this on Thai omelets and other egg dishes. Try spreading the chili paste on a piece of toast, it’s superb! I think the most well-known dishes that these two ingredients are used in are Tom Yum and Cashew Chicken Stir-Fry.
Q: What’s your favourite dish on the menu?
W: My favourite dish on our menu is Basil Shrimp Stir-Fry (ps. I love seafood)! This dish gives you so many flavours like the spiciness from the chili garlic sauce, sweetness from the onions and fresh sweet peppers, and freshness of the basil and coriander. They all combine to give an adventure of taste. Pair it with your favorite glass of wine and you have a great dinner.
G: It’s impossible to go with just one, so here are my top three: Mango Panna Cotta, Phad Thai (would you believe me that even in Thailand, it’s hard to find any one that can beat our Phad Thai?!), and Grilled Lemongrass Cornish Hen.
Q: What’s your favourite Thai dish (off the menu)?
W: My favourite items off the menu (which I plan to add in the future for all to enjoy) are grilled duck breast with tamarind sauce and a side of pineapple, bell peppers, and onions. There’s also salted egg seafood stir-fry and grilled meat with our house-made curry paste. I could keep going on and on!
G: I have a sweet tooth, so pretty much any kind of dessert! But I also love Tom Phalo Kha Mu (Stewed pork leg with Chinese spices), especially when it’s made from knuckles and trotters. My favourite Tom Kha Mu in Thailand is the one from a stall in the Tewet Fresh market. There’s also Por Pia Sot Kha Mu (Chinese style fresh rolls with stew pork leg) from a stall around Chinatown and Klong Thom area. Here? Chef makes a very good one. I also love Gaeng TePho (Pork and Water Morning Glory curry).
Feeling as hungry as we are? To order takeout and taste Chef William and Chef Gade’s favourite dishes, click here.