'Cooking at home is very different because I can switch off': Apichat Amatmontri

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Cooking at home is very different because I can switch off: Apichat Amatmontri

The Pai Thai chef on the hits and misses of his culinary journey

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Published: Fri 16 Jun 2017, 1:00 PM

Last updated: Fri 16 Jun 2017, 3:00 PM

Your favourite memory of food.
Being Thai, I grew up having herbs and spices seasoning my taste buds on a daily basis - they brought every dish to life. I can't get enough of Thai noodles with chicken, and I never get bored of eating them either.
What's the most challenging part of your job?
Having to work with special dietary requirements and allergies. It's difficult when I have to prepare food for lots of guests with different allergies, making sure that everything I prepare is safe for consumption. I don't want to make anyone ill! Sourcing consistently good ingredients on a regular basis is another challenge and, sometimes, I find myself having to take some items off the menu when quality products aren't available - I hate disappointing customers!
What does cooking mean to you?
Food is a basic need for any human being. I'm lucky that I'm able to cook food for people I care about, learn to understand their tastes and develop recipes accordingly. I'm extremely passionate about cooking - it's what keeps me doing what I do.
If you could cook for a high-profile personality, who would it be and what would you serve them?
Definitely Gordon Ramsey. I'd cook him a Thai Green Curry. I'd love to see his reaction after his first bite - I imagine it would make for great TV.
How often do you eat out? What's your favourite place around town?
I try to go out once a week when I'm not working. No favourite place in particular; I like to go to the malls and to different hotels, dine in new restaurants and experience new cuisines. It's a great learning experience.
After cooking all day, do you cook for yourself at home too?
Yes, of course! At work, I don't enjoy cooking and eating at the same time, but cooking and eating at home is a completely different experience. I can switch off, and stop thinking about anything but what I
am eating.
You're asked to invent an unusual dish - what would it be?
I'd make Thai Spaghetti. It's rice noodles with hot basil sauce topped up with Parmesan and oven-baked. Absolutely delightful!
Who do you admire most in the culinary world, and why?
Christian Gradnitzer, the former culinary director of the Jumeirah Group. He's extremely innovative, knows the market very well, and keeps his team highly motivated all the time.
Favourite comfort food?
Definitely Pad Thai Noodles, because they have all the nutrients that one needs to stay fit and healthy. Oh, and the best bit is that it's simple to prepare.
One ingredient or dish you can't stand, and why.
I'm not fussy at all when it comes to food, but I'm not a big fan of cheese - especially the 'stinkier' varieties like blue cheese. They have an overpowering smell and flavour that I just don't like.
If you could choose a last meal, what would it be?
Minced duck salad and sticky rice. Prepared Thai style, of course.
Your favourite culinary destination, and why?
It has to be the city I call home - Dubai. It's home to every type of restaurant you can think of, and I love being able to experience all the different types of cultures and cuisines.
- Staff reporter

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