The Michelin starred chef pops into the Thai Kitchen and talks to Time Out about rice, spice and all things nice.
Take one talented Australian chef, a healthy obsession with Thai cuisine and a generous pinch of determination. Mix it all together in a hotel in London’s Belgravia, and what do you get? The world’s first Michelin-starred Thai restaurant, that’s what. David Thompson, the driving force behind the highly acclaimed Nahm at the Halkin Hotel, will be on-loan for a few days at Thai Kitchen to unleash his award-winning recipes and sumptuous flavours on an unsuspecting Dubai public. The writer of the definitive Thai Food cookery book implores James Brennan to stay away from the kitchen -– at least until the master chef has left town.
Tell us what you’ll be doing in Dubai. Cooking. We will have several dishes from Nahm as well as a few new ones. Given that it’s in Dubai, I have decided to put on some Muslim Thai dishes too.
So, what dishes can we expect? Well, there will be two different types of satay, one beef and one mussel version. A beef satay sounds so commonplace, but the recipe we’ll be using is quite wonderful, lifting the dish from the ordinary. There’ll be a grilled lamb rib curry, some hammour deep-fried with turmeric, a stir-fry of scallops with holy basil and another stir fry of liver with chillies, wild ginger and green peppercorns.
What’s so special about Thai food? It’s damned delicious.
Are you going to blitz us with chillies? There’ll be one or two hot dishes but Thai food isn’t always about chillies, it’s about balance, a balance between hot, sour, sweet and salty elements in a particular dish and throughout the meal.
What’s the hottest Thai dish you ever tasted? I have been working on a new book and one of the dishes, from the deep south [of Thailand] was so hot it sizzled my lips even before it got there. It was a rich and thick curry-like relish made from fish, prawns, peppercorns and chillies. I still have the scars.
Your London restaurant, Nahm, is the first Thai restaurant to gain the Michelin star – does Thai food gain the recognition it deserves? It’s one of the world’s most popular cuisines – it’s also one of the world’s great cuisines too.
Don’t you think it’s strange that a Thai chef didn’t get the first Michelin star? Absolutely. I scratch my head every time I think about it...
Is it difficult to cook Thai food at home? Some dishes are terribly complex, while others are quite easy. It’s hard for me to say as I rarely cook at home.
Go on, give us some tips... Don’t cook at home!
Any plans to open up a place in Dubai? Not at this stage, but who knows...
David Thompson will be cooking at Thai Kitchen, Park Hyatt (04 602 1234) from October17-21.