Sunday, September 26, 2010

Foodies at Ten Paces !

It's brewing up to be a scandal of major proportions and has been reported in the New York Times.

Acclaimed Australian chef David Thompson has had the temerity to open a restaurant in Bangkok and fellow foodies are not happy.

Thompson has been visiting Thailand for 25 years and has finally sealed his love affair with the country by opening a local branch of his hugely successful Nahm Restaurant.
This year his London eatery of the same name was the first ever Thai food outlet to receive a much coveted Michelin star.

Thai food writer Suthon Sukphasit reckons Thompson is "slapping the face of Thai people"-an odd comment that somewhat goes against the grain of the Land of Smiles legendary hospitality towards visitors and 'farangs' who settle in the country.

US born writer, the corpulent Bob Halliday who has lived in Thailand for a few decades sniffs
When someone comes along and presents himself as the spokesman of Thai cuisine it’s like Osama Bin Laden going to the Vatican and saying he is the high authority on Catholicism".

Nahm in London
Another bizarre comment from a writer who err...presents himself as a spokesman on Thai food with his internet site Aw Taw aw Market (don't click the link-it takes you to a Thai betting site).

tSS thinks they protest too much and can't handle the competition.

Thompson has now published two well received books Thai Food and Thai Street Food which is regarded as the definitive recipe book on Siam eating. His second book was sold out within 2 weeks of being released.

Sydneysiders will remember Thompson's superb Darley Street Thai restaurant in Kings Cross in the 90's. It was Tom Cruise and Nicolle Kidman's home away from home.

However according to Pongtawat Chalermkittichai, the first Thai national to become Executive Chef at the 5 star Four Seasons Hotel in Bangkok-Thompson is a master of Asian cooking and he says his '"mouth salivates at the thought of David's dishes".

Bob Halliday(right)

Pongtawat Chalermkittichai who is a world-wide consultant for Asian food and has opened the successful Kittichai Restaurant in Manhattan reckons he can learn much from Thompson. He plans to open a new eatery in Bangkok early next year and he hopes Nahm and his establishment "complement each other".

Perhaps the last word should go to someone who knows.
In a country that reveres it's Royal Family, not only is David Thompson a consultant for the Thailand's premier food cooking school, the prestigious Suan Dusit College in Bangkok on the preservation of Thai culinary heritage, he also oversees state banquets for the longest reigning monarch in the world, King Bhumibol Adulyadej, Rama IX of Thailand.