Tag Archive: vietnamese

Mumbai’s new cast of International Chefs get on the griller as they divulge their cooking creeds.


Chef Alex Sanchez, Executive Chef, The Table


Who: Alex Sanchez,
Restaurant: The Table,
Cuisine: International

The range of Sanchez’s cooking style reflects the cultural diversity of his hometown, San Francisco. He is dedicated to preserving the integrity of his ingredients, be it a carrot or an expensive cut of meat. “Cooking is about spontaneity, sensuality, and the giving of pleasure,” he declares.

Craziest order you have received?
“In an upscale restaurant back in San Francisco we had a superstitious guest who refused to eat anything in even numbers. He ordered a salad, naturally, and I was in the kitchen counting every leaf, every herb, every garnish to make sure it was in odd numbers.”
You have 12 hours to live, what meal do you have?
“Hands down my mom’s lasagna or my grandma’s leg of lamb — either would allow me to relive my entire life in one bite!”

How do you rate Mumbaikar diners?
“It’s difficult to generalise but I’m learning they like bold flavours and large portions. Being largely well-travelled there is also an appreciation for some subtlety and nuance.”

Chef Praiwan Sripal, Thai Chef, Courtyard

Who: Praiwan Sripal,
Restaurant: Red Zen,
Cuisine: Pan Asian

Four months into his Mumbai culinary foray and Thai Chef Praiwan has assembled a menu drawing from Thai, Chinese, Singaporean, Malaysian, Vietnamese, and Indonesian influences. He cooks by six words, “Keep it fresh, keep it simple!”

Craziest order…?
“A guest once requested a dish that was ‘not dead’.”
12 hours to live, what meal?
“I’m a simple man with simple tastes so it would be a fresh, authentic meal, raw papaya salad, Thai green curry and steamed rice.”
Best thing since sliced bread?
In the Thai food world that would be the strong and aromatic fish sauce (Nam Pla) — the staple ingredient of Thai cuisine.

Alain Coumont, Owner, Le Pain Quotidien

Who: Alain Coumont,
Restaurant: Le Pain Quotidien,
Cuisine: European Continental

Having opened a Colaba branch of the international brand in January, Belgian Coumont believes dishes should be a combination of colourful presentation and flavourful ingredients.
Kitchen injuries?
“A friend was re-enacting a stylish tennis shot with a long slicer and took a piece of my finger off in the demonstration. I also broke my toe after dropping a six kilo frozen salmon I was holding by the tail.”
12 hours to live, what meal?

“The best bottle of wine for sure and fresh truffle, if I’m lucky enough to die in

Mumbaikar diners?
“There is a very diverse range in preference and demographics and, as diners, they are discerning, sophisticated and well-traveled.”

Gia Tong, Head Chef, Trendz

Who: Gia Tong,
Restaurant: Trendz,
Cuisine: Vietnamese

Vietnamese Chef Tong has been plying his trade in Mumbai for just one month and is determined to bring eye-catching and colourful dishes to the dining scene.

Craziest order?
“A customer wanted their braised spare ribs medium-rare but I had to go out and personally explain to them that, because the dish is cooked for six hours, that would be pretty hard!”

Kitchen injuries?
“I was using a Chinese chopper to cut up some chicken and was so busy listening to instructions I chopped off part of my thumb.”

Weirdest ingredient?

“I am used to using snails but when I came to Mumbai I was told to take them off the menu, clearly it’s not Mumbaikar diners’ cup of tea.”


A new batch of Mumbai’s International Chefs prepare for a roasting.

Ian Kittichai, Head Chef, Koh

Name: Ian Kittachi Restaurant: Koh Cuisine: Thai

Hailing from Thailand, Chef Kittachi is a man devoted to his ingredients. His dishes arive courtesy of influences from across the globe and capped off with Thai flavors, spices and herbs. Look out for his signature offerings, such as lamb shank slow-cooked for 12 hours.

What’s the craziest order you’ve received? “Some people who are spice intolerant expect me to do a Green Thai curry without any chilies. But one guest asked me to do a Som Tom without Papaya and I did it with tender coconut shreds instead, it went down well.”  

What’s the weirdest ingredient you’ve cooked with? “Lamprey, an eel-shaped fish with delicately-flavored but fatty flesh, it’s a challenge to cook but even harder to eat!” 

What’s your ideal song to cook to? “Music helps to keep you in the flow of cooking so anything soft and soothing works. I have yet to find if spatulas make good microphones or if my kitchen can be a dancefloor.”

Jihad El Shami, Head Chef, Mabruk


Name: Jihad El Shami Restaurant: Mabruk Cuisine: Lebanese

Lebanese chef Jihad El Shami ensures that hygiene and organization rule in his kitchen. “No one appreciates a meal cooked by someone with a sweaty brow and hair loss issues” he declares.

Cooking song? Classical tunes by Fairouz, a female singer from Lebanaon.

What is the best dish you’ve prepared? Fakhed with Riz (A leg of lamb with rice).

You have 12 hours to live, what meal would you have? “Has to be Tabbouleh, a Levantine salad traditionally made of bulgar, finely chopped parsley and mint, tomato and spring onion, seasoned with lemon juice and olive oil.”

Who is your cooking inspiration and what dish would you serve them? My grandfather, he was a complete foodie who loved the Samkeh Harrah (Lebanese Garlic Fish)

Thomas Wee, Head Chef, Spices

Name: Thomas Wee Restaurant: Spices Cuisine: Chinese and Japanese

Seven and a half years into his Indian culinary expedition, Chinese chef Wee has developed a cooking creed centered around health conscious and nutritious cooking.

Weirdest ingredient? “I’ve cooked with wild animals such as Deer, Python, Flying Bat, Squirrel and Turtle.”

Any kitchen injuries? “I was new in the kitchen and fell on a slippery floor right onto the BBQ griller.”

Best thing since sliced bread? Asian rice and noodles!

12 hours to live, what meal? To be honest I don’t think I would have the appetite to eat anything.

Mama Villie Van, Head Chef, Ocean

Name: Mama Villie Van Restaurant: Ocean Cuisine: Pan-Asian

Chef Mama is credited as one of the pioneers of Thai food in Mumbai, being in the city for over 19 years. Her cooking aims at creating authentic and ethic cuisine.

Best thing since sliced bread? The pressure cooker, it makes cooking so much easier.

Your best dish? Panaeng (Meat in Spicy Coconut cream).

Your cooking inspiration? My grand mother, I would serve her my personal version of the Tom Yam Goong (Spicy Shrimp Soup).

What do you think about Mumbaiker diners? They are a spicy lot, over the years their taste buds have evolved but they always want quick service, spicy food, and lots of gravy.