This August, Chef Lam Ming Kin of Longtail, Taipei (1 Michelin star, MICHELIN Guide Taipei 2018) is flying to the Land of Smiles for a gastronomical collaboration with local rising-talent Chef Piyachart (Boy) Puttawong of Saneh Jaan, Bangkok (1 Michelin star, MICHELIN Bangkok 2018).
Having trained at Guy Savoy’s Le Chiberta in Paris and Jean Georges in New York, Chef Lam Ming Kin combines his experience from Europe’s finest restaurants with his roots in Asian cuisine. However, the path to success was not always so straightforward.
“My father was a chef in a Chinese restaurant. It was hard work, and traditionally not a highly regarded profession. When I expressed an interest to follow in his footsteps, he encouraged me to focus on my studies instead,” says Chef Lam. “I attended university in Taiwan for two years where I majored in Japanese. I think I wanted to prove myself, but in the end, I made the difficult decision of leaving school to pursue my true passion.”
“I was born in Beung Kan, one of Thailand’s newest provinces located in the Isaan (northeastern) region," says Chef Boy. “Where I grew up, local ingredients are used in every meal. I wanted to become a chef because I felt that Thai food had a lot of charm. My grandmother taught home economics, and so we always worked with food. It instilled in me a deep love of cooking.”
The pairing will allow the chefs to respectively represent modern fusion and authentic Thai cuisines. Balancing their unique styles, both will work to create one spectacular menu. “I would describe my food as contemporary and borderless,” Chef Lam says of Longtail, “I didn’t want it to be limited by labels. I serve my guests the food that I would want to eat.”
At the other end of the spectrum, Saneh Jaan is best known for upholding tradition. “Our food is what you would find in a typical Thai home,” Chef Boy speaks with poise, having extensively studied Thai cuisine from different eras. “You can imagine that the cooks here are like mothers making meals for their children. The dishes are comforting, they are simple but we present them in a refined manner.”
Chef Lam is already quite familiar with Thai food. “I’ve always loved Thai food and eat it often. I am looking forward to collaborating on our joint dish, two chefs coming together to create something completely new.”
Nodding in agreement, Chef Boy adds, “I think it will be challenging to mix traditional Thai with modern food. It’s an exciting prospect. Chef Lam is already very well-known and I’m still quite young. I think there is much he can teach me and much that we achieve together in this collaboration.”
So what dishes can we expect from the duo? Chef Lam gives us a small preview that speaks to the home countries of both restaurants. “I have decided on one kanpachi crudo dish that uses rose apples native to Taiwan, combined with a tamarind dressing which reminds me of Thailand. It will be a refreshing starter for a hot summer night.”
As for Chef Boy, one standout dish will be rustled up to delight the Thai palates. “I think I will definitely do a soup course. I plan to create a green curry with stuffed chicken. The flavours will be authentically Thai.”
The MICHELIN Guide Dining Series 3rd Edition will take place at Saneh Jaan (Glasshouse at Sindhorn) on August 21 and 22, 2018. This edition is not open to the public.
Here's what our Inspectors said about Saneh Jaan (One Michelin Star)
Thai dishes crafted from ancient recipes that once impressed the royal family are the draw here but don't discount the lovely setting, complete with vaulted ceilings and contemporary Thai touches. Dishes are a mix of classics and hard-to-find recipes, like hot and spicy soup (kaeng ranjuan), red curry with grilled pork, and sweet and sour coconut dip with crabmeat. Don't miss dessert: try khao moa rang - a rare creation made with young green rice grains.
Here's what our Inspectors said about Longtail (One Michelin Star)
More ambitious than its sister Chou Chou, this is the brainchild of the owner-chef Lam Ming Kin who spent years in some of the world's best kitchens. Start your evening sipping creatively concocted cocktails at the bar before being seated at a table or on tatami. The food makes innovative references to cuisines from around the world using various Asian ingredients. Dishes seem simple, but show well-judged depth and great contrasts in flavour and texture.