Thank you for today, and every day…

Four years ago on a bright and hot sunny day, I went to Malaga Airport to pick up, what would be the Laocooks.

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kitchen

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Though the current team have been here since 2005, their journey started towards the end of 2003.

Back then I had been sent to Thailand and Laos to look for a team of cooks to join me in Spain. After lengthy interviews and “test” meals in various restaurants, my hand-picked team and I started the paper work to get the required work permits to join me in Europe.

This process took 18 long months, and included (for them) many visits to the Spanish Embassy in Bangkok and an endless amount of “red tape”.

Finally when all the paper work was completed, they started their journey to the south of Spain. The cooks I had chosen from Laos had traveled on the overnight train to Bangkok to meet up with the Thai cooks. They had never met each other before and I can only imagine the excitement and trepidation that they felt leaving their families and friends behind to find a new life.

Some of them had never been abroad before, or even traveled on an airplane. Their route took them from Bangkok to Zurich, then on to Malaga. They even refused food and drink on the airplanes because they didn’t have any currency to what they would later find out were free meals and refreshments!

Throughout the years, many people have passed through the Laocook Kitchens. Either as cooks, waiting staff or interns, and I thank each and everyone of them for their input, hard work and trust.

Looking back through the posts on the site I can see the many changes that our food has gone through. Not only have we grown in to an extended family, our food has also progressed.

You can only be a good Chef if you have a good team behind you. A good team is the backbone of a good kitchen.

Some of the Laocooks still raise their eyebrows at some of my ideas. I still recall their reaction in 2006 to my  “Tom Yum Foam”. :biggrin:

It is great to have a good team with such a wide and varied experience in the kitchen. Innovation follows Tradition. Without one, the other cannot exist.

This post is about the current Laocook Team, and who they are.

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kit

Kittirat Pongsri, a.k.a Kit.

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Kit was my first contact in Thailand and related to a friend of my family. He had no formal kitchen training and whilst waiting for the work permit paperwork he went to work for free in various restaurants in and around his hometown of Bangkok. He came to Spain as a commis cook and has now worked his way up the brigade to become a chef de partie in our European restaurant.

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saki-1

Phayungsak Srilapho, a.ka. Saki, working in Bangkok.

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I took this photo of Saki as he was preparing my dinner in a Japanese restaurant in Bangkok. Saki is from the north of Thailand and speaks fluent Lao, which is good for me as I cannot speak Thai! :blink:

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Saki is now responsible for our Sushi and Teppanyaki sections.

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kuchi

Pichet Taiwarin, a.k.a Kuchi. Cheers!

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Kuchi is also from the north of Thailand and speaks fluent Lao and also a lot of Spanish! :biggrin:

He began his catering career at the food markets that are usually found on the top of large Bangkok shopping centres. Kuchi is a deft hand at fish and serves as my second Sushi cook and is also responsible at times for our breakfast shifts, which means starting work at 05.00hrs! :cwy:

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kham-2

Khamhoung Thammavong, a.k.a Kham.

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Kham is our “meat and hot section” cook. That means that he is responsible for the hot section which includes the wok-burners and preparation for that section as well as being in charge of the meats that arrive to the kitchen, from Beef, Pork, Chicken and Duck.

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kham-3

Kham´s Roasted Duck, which only the breasts will be used for our dish, meat cooked “on the bone” is more succulent and tender.

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sen-1

Khamsene Yothasy, a.k.a. Sen.

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Sen is my Sous Chef and second in command my brigade. He is an “all rounder” who can work any section in the kitchen. As my “right hand man” he also helps me with the menus and orders for the kitchen.

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sen

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A lot of my new ideas and dishes are discussed in meetings with Sen. Once an idea has taken form, I will ask him his opinion from a traditional aspect.

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Sen is a great technician and also teaches and advises the other Laocooks.

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To all my team members, past and present, I want to

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Thank you for today, and every day.

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4 thoughts on “Thank you for today, and every day…

  1. Hi Vienne,

    I came across your website through a ramdom search for Lao food and I’m so happy to stumbled on yours. First of all I like to say what a wonderful  and amazing  job you and your team have done in representing and transcending traditional Lao foods. I am not Loas but dated a nice Laotion boy for 5 years so I was exposesd to the food and culture for sometime.  Also, I think it’s wonderful that you share your little stories and experiences with us. It’s so cute. I only wish I would have an opportunity to visit your restuarant to enjoy your tasty and creative food. Take Care

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