I am so behind... But our trip to Bangkok back in March/April
The land elephants and humidity so intense that it fogs up my camera lenses. Where else could we be, but in Bangkok during the hottest time in the year? This March Ms. Kawano (the CEO of Korin), Vincent (the knife master’s apprentice), and I had the amazing opportunity to visit Thailand’s very first celebrity chef, Iron Chef Ian Kittichai.
Chef Kittichai is the owner of the Spot Dessert Bar and Ember Room in New York City. "Chef Pongtawat “Ian” Chalermkittichai’s path to culinary success started from very humble beginnings in Bangkok. Every morning he would rise at 3 AM to accompany his mother to the wet market to select the best meats, seafood, and vegetables for her neighborhood grocery. While Ian was at school, she would cook a dozen different types of curries. Upon his return home, Ian would push a cart through the neighborhood to sell his wares, shouting: “Khao Geang Ron Ron Ma Leaw Jaar!” (Hot curry coming!)." - Taken from his website
Back when he lived in NY, he came to Korin very often. In fact he purchased yanagi knives so frequently, Mr. Sugai told Chef kittichai that he has too many knives and he doesn’t need anymore. We wondered if there were any knives he secretly purchased while Mr. Sugai wasn’t looking.
He graciously invited us to his home to meet his lovely wife and show us all of the products he has purchased from Korin. Other than his extensive knife collection that, he had case stocks of tableware that made me wonder if he planned to open a restaurant in his house.
When Chef Kittichai brought up the idea of opening a small section for Korin products, Ms. Kawano was so thrilled she immediately booked a flight to Thailand. Unfortunately, we were too early for the restaurant grand opening, but we were given a glimpse into the chef's creative mind for what is to come. The walls were beautifully painted with different classifications of meat cuts and there were tables that connected to a beer kegs for customers with a large group of people. Talk about a beer-fest. Of course you don't HAVE to drink the entire keg of beer, but you won't be refunded for whatever is left. Chef Kittichai jokingly said that if they leave stuff over, more for the staff after work. When you go upstairs, there is a kitchen to hold cooking classes and a room for Chef Kittichai to sell some of our knives. Despite all of these awesome idea in this large restaurant, what surprised me the most actually had nothing to do with the restaurant. The construction workers were camping around the restaurant with their families. They hung their laundry to dry, had tent propped up and children wandered around the construction area watching their fathers work. I have personally never seen such dedication or speed in New York.
He invited us to eat at his various restaurants in Bangkok as well as his favorite places to eat. It was absolutely fascinating how he found such innovative ways to use our products to fit the image of his restaurant. For example, he wrapped bamboo leaves around the konro grills, which gave it a completely different feel and hid the Japanese lettering.
We ate all of the best foods, toured around the city, discussed business out of sheer excitement, and at the end of the day we indulged ourselves even further with wonderful (and cheap) massages. Halfway through our trip, I noticed we were walking on the path to becoming Kobe beef.
We had such a blast. Is there anyone from Thai or have been there?
Thank you for reading guys! :)