Posts

“my Korin knife slices it all”

Ian Chalermkittichai brought his brilliance to a new venue when he became the first Thai executive chef of Shintaro, the sushi bar and restaurant at the Four Seasons Hotel Bangkok. Nicknamed “The Golden Boy” in 2001 by the Bangkok Post, he created a modern Thai cuisine subtly enhanced by Japanese influences. He is now the Executive Chef of Kittichai, the authentic modern Thai restaurant in New York City.

 

What does your knife mean to you?

I do a lot of chopping and a lot of slicing, so a sharp knife gives me confidence. I want to keep selecting more Japanese knives for my kitchen. What do you like about Japanese knives? I have a Yanagi that handles well and I use it every day.We do 300 covers a night here sometimes and we have only one person doing meat. Hangar steak, duck, filet mignon, pork, chicken…my Korin knife slices it all. Have you used Japanese cooking and kitchen tools aside from the knives? We use a lot of unique Japanese cooking tools but we adapt everything to our own situation. We use the Ishiyaki Stone for tabletop grilling, the Konro grills with Kamisuki Nabe (paper pot) for soups and a lot of ramekins for small dishes. These techniques may be new to Westerners but they derive from old cooking methods that still work. What made you want to be a chef ? When I was 13 years old, I used to drive my mother to the green market in the mornings. I’d join her on her pushcart after school, selling curries around town. At 16 I went to London to study and got a dishwashing job part time. One night a chef didn’t show up and I offered to help in the kitchen.The manager came in and asked me if I wanted to be a chef. I always knew I could make a successful restaurant, even before I finished school.

 

“Never lose sight of your goal.”

Shinichiro Takagi is owner and head chef at Zeniya, located in Kanazawa on the Western Coast of Japan, an area famous for its sake breweries.Takagi uses fresh, local ingredients to prepare mouthwatering meals based on Japanese Kaiseki cuisine and pairs his dishes with the finest local sake.

 

What is your advice for young chefs?

Never lose sight of your goal. Work as much as you can and have as much fun doing it as you can.Take advantage of every moment to be aware and enjoy what you are doing and you will have a full life with no regrets about wasted time.To be a chef you must develop some essential skills. You must build a sensitive palate, good aesthetics with color and shape…but I think the most important thing is to have the perseverance to stick it out. A successful chef will endure the little failures, the long hours, difficult situations, to keep working, keep pouring your passion into the food. This dedication will pay off in the end.Add Video

 

What is your goal for the restaurant now?

I want people who love food to visit our restaurant and enjoy my cooking and I want to make dishes for my customers that they can’t get anywhere else in the world. I want to keep changing and improving the menu and keep producing food the customers can appreciate with all five senses.

 

What is the most important aspect of cooking to you?

Chefs are professionals who put food they have touched into people’s bodies. In that way, we have a lot of responsibility to customers who trust us, kind of like doctors! Safety is certainly first and foremost in importance, as well as serving a nutritious, balanced meal, but the most important thing we’re trying to do here is to serve dishes that make people happy, make them smile.