Chef whets Myanmar appetite for Thai dishes
YUTTAPHUM Simpalipun used to feast on her grandmother’s traditional Thai food when he was a kid. He would watch her whip up recipes to perfection in the kitchen of their ancestral home and at times he would volunteer to help preparing the dishes. She became an inspiration for him when he was in his teens.
He went to Vancouver, Canada where he studied and finished his high school. Chasing his dream, he took a diploma at Pacific Institute of Culinary Arts in Vancouver. After completing his studies, he started pursuing a career in cooking.
The 29-year-old Yuttaphum is now running two restaurants of his own in Bangkok and in Edmonton, Canada where he prepares modern Thai cuisines.
A native of Bangkok, Yuttaphum visits Yangon this week to curate the menu of ‘A Taste of Thailand’ festival, hosted as part of the 22nd anniversary of Sedona Hotel Yangon. The chef cooks his favourite Thai dishes, including Tom Yam, Tom Kha Gai (chicken and coconut milk soup) and papaya salad.
“At first I learnt from watching my grandmother when she cooked Thai food. My parents used to operate a restaurant but they do not consider themselves as chefs,” Yuttaphum told to the Metro.
Cooking Thai food is not easy. It’s strenuous and needs attention to every detail.
“You have to do every detail to make a traditional dish that is colourful and tasty. When you cook green curry, you have to make paste from the scratch,” he said.
When he came back to Thailand after studies, Yuttaphum makes fusion of traditional Thai food and western food cuisine.
He opens a restaurant named 1 Nares in Bangkok three years ago. The restaurant serves traditional Thai food, fusion cuisines, western and Italian food. His restaurant in Edmonton is called Kaengthai, a small a 40-seater venue which prepares Thai food using local ingredients.
“My favorite food to cook is Italian food. I love Italian cuisines more than Thai cuisines. I love to eat cheese so much. Even now I make Italian and Thai fusion,” he said.
Cooking becomes the perfect outlet for his stress. “I am very happy when I cook. When I feel stress or when I feel sad, I go to the kitchen and cook food. My stress goes away,” he said.
Thai food is highly popular in Myanmar. Many Thai restaurants have mushroomed across the city over the past few years.
“I am so happy that Myanmar people love Thai food. They all come and see every single menu I cook. That makes me happy. They may want to cook Thai food,” he said.
“A Taste of Thailand” will be held until the end of the month and Yuttaphum will be at Sedona Hotel Yangon until September 16.
‘When I feel sad, I go to the kitchen and cook food.’ Yuttaphum Simpalipun Thai Chef
As part of its 22nd anniversary celebrations, Sedona Hotel Yangon is hosting “A Taste of Thailand” festival with guest chef Yuttaphum Simpalipun.