What inspired you to start working in hospitality?
I grew up in the hospitality industry. My mother and father owned a restaurant in Thailand, so I was always around food and cooking.
How long have you been a chef?
I have grown up helping my mother and father in their restaurant, but when I was 18, I did all the correct courses to become a fully qualified chef.
What do you love most about your job?
I just love cooking and decorating the food. I like to try a bit of everything and work with all sorts of ingredients to create new dishes.
What are some of the most popular Thai dishes that you sell at the Thai orchid?
Definitely Massaman Curry. Everyone just raves about it, and also, coming in second would have to be Pad Thai. They are both our specialties here. The third best seller would have to be stirfried chicken and cashew.
What is one ingredient that you can’t go without using?
Chilli is definitely something we use in a lot of things, but I would have to say herbs. We use lots of fresh herbs in everything. That is why Thai food is so healthy, ‘cause all the herbs are really good for your digestive system. We use all different fresh herbs like lemongrass, mint, basil, coriander, ginger and many more. We don’t tend to use as much chilli in our dishes over here as we would back in Thailand, as it is generally too hot.
What does the future hold for the restaurant?
At the moment, we are looking at doing some renovations outside to make it look more traditional Thai and more outdoorsy.
What makes the Thai Orchid stand out above the rest?
I think because we have such a nice big restaurant, and we have a good atmosphere. The price of our food is very reasonable for the large portion sizes. Also, our food is 100% fresh.
We only cook it as it is ordered; no pre cooking takes place. That is why sometimes it may take a little longer for our meals to come out, but they are of the freshest quality.
You have been a finalist for the best Thai Restaurant in the North Coast for the past 5 years. What is the criteria that you have to pass to become a finalist?
They come in and check the food, service, portion sizes, restaurant, kitchen, table setting the lot; it is very strict.
How long has the Thai orchid been open?
Six years, and hopefully we have another 7 or so years in us.
Thank you May.
This story was published in issue 78 of Port Macquarie Focus