Vancouver is home to some of the best chefs in the world, many have worked for the top chefs and restaurants around the world as well as around the city. Dishing with the Chefs is a series of Interviews with some of the top chefs in and around Vancouver.
Last month I spent the afternoon with Chef Grace Rerksuttisiridach at Simply Thai Restaurant in Yaletown. I have known Grace for many years, ever since I first visited her restaurant over 10 years ago.
As a teenager Grace learned cooking from her mother. She graduated with an Economics Science degree. In 1991, she went to cooking school in Bangkok, Thailand and in 1992 moved to Vancouver. She started as a cook at Sawasdee Restaurant on Main Street and was then promoted to Sous Chef, after 7 years there she returned to Thailand to research the market and find the new herbs. In 2000 she opened Simply Thai in Yaletown.
What style is your Thai cooking?
Bangkok a little south and a little north.
What are the most difficult to find ingredients?
- Panda leaf
Who carves your Vegetables?
Myself and my other Chef Youngyut Aepkham hand carves our carrots, tomatoes and cucumbers which we use to garnish many of our dishes.
How did you learn Vegetable Carving?
I learned from a book first, then I took a class with Penpan Sittitrai, teacher of Royal Thai Chefs for the Royal family of Thailand.
What do you think Thai cuisine is like around the world?
I have travelled to Europe and Thai cuisine with the best quality is in Vancouver.
What makes the spice?
Chili Pepper –if you want less spice you cut it down, if you want more you add more.
What makes your Coconut Soup sweet & sour?
Fresh lime juice, lime leaf, palm sugar and lemon grass.
What is your Favourite Cuisine outside of your own?
I understand you have had many Celebrities visit your restaurant over the years, who are some?
- Tom Cruise
- Suri Cruise
- Katti Holme
- Russel Crowe
- Jason Statham
- LL Cool Jay
- Samuel Jackson
- Jessica Alba
- Harrison Ford
- Ryan Felco
- Wesley Snipes
- Chad Crother from Nickelback
- Chef Hart Smith of Oprah Winfrey
- Mat Sundin of the Vancouver Canucks
What is the secret to your Success?
Quality, cook with passion, cook from your heart with your love.
What are your favourite wines to pair with spicy food?
- Mission Hill Pinot Noir
- Dirty Laundry Pinot Noir
- Hester Creek Merlot
What do you like to do in your off time?
- Go to the movies
- Thinking of new dishes
- Read cookbooks
How often do you go and visit Thailand?
Every 2 years I visit my family and my teacher.
Stay tuned for the next chef in the Dishing with the Chef series.
By: Richard Wolak