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Fah Thai Magazine March/April 2018 - Infight Magazine of Bangkok Airways

Fah Thai is the inflight magazine of Bangkok Airways. It is YOUR MAGAZINE. It is distributed with our compliments on all Bangkok Airways flights. We hope you enjoy it.

Fah Thai is the inflight magazine of Bangkok Airways. It is YOUR MAGAZINE. It is distributed with our compliments on all Bangkok Airways flights. We hope you enjoy it.

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CHUDAREE DEBHAKAM<br />

When Chudaree Debhakam<br />

started her culinary career<br />

at fine dining restaurant,<br />

the Water Library at<br />

Chamchuri Square in <strong>Bangkok</strong>, it was<br />

a lesson in misplaced confidence. As<br />

a trained food scientist, she was quite<br />

sure that knowledge would translate to<br />

complimentary abilities in the kitchen.<br />

Above<br />

Vino with a view at Scarllett<br />

Wine Bar and Restaurant.<br />

“I was assigned to do a glass<br />

<strong>of</strong> beetroot juice,” Chudaree<br />

remembers. Known as “Tam”<br />

with friends and family, she<br />

recalled the days <strong>of</strong> being young<br />

and naïve. “I ran the beetroot<br />

through the juicer and left a<br />

visual hell <strong>of</strong> red splats all over<br />

the kitchen wall. The sous chef<br />

asked me to leave the restaurant<br />

right away. I broke down in tears<br />

and vowed that I would learn how<br />

to prepare food properly.”<br />

That determination led to New<br />

York City and the Pr<strong>of</strong>essional<br />

Culinary Arts programme at the<br />

International Culinary Center.<br />

After graduation she cut her<br />

teeth as a sous chef at Blue Hill<br />

at Stone Barns – an acclaimed<br />

Top<br />

Top Chef <strong>Thai</strong>land winner<br />

prepares Grilled Tiger Prawns<br />

with Charred Romesco.<br />

farm-to-table restaurant north <strong>of</strong><br />

New York City. There she learned<br />

to combine the art and science<br />

<strong>of</strong> food preparation. The upscale<br />

restaurant’s acclaimed chef, Dan<br />

Barber, is recognised as an early<br />

practitioner <strong>of</strong> the farm-to-table<br />

movement. When Chudaree came<br />

back to <strong>Thai</strong>land, she felt like she<br />

finally returned as a chef.<br />

Last year, she won Top Chef<br />

<strong>Thai</strong>land in its premier series on<br />

the One 31 cable network. Battling<br />

it out amidst crazed cooking<br />

drama, the 24-year-old was the<br />

youngest contestant and walked<br />

away from the network show<br />

with a cheque worth 1,000,000<br />

baht. Like the original “Top<br />

Chef” reality show in America,<br />

Chudaree competed against 14<br />

aspiring chefs and was grilled<br />

by judges like old school chef<br />

Willment Leong and <strong>Thai</strong>land’s<br />

celebrity chef Suphamongkol<br />

Suphaphiphat.<br />

Life has now taken a worthy<br />

turn. Before, scant knowledge<br />

made her splatter the kitchen wall<br />

red with beetroot juice, but now<br />

honed skills resulted in a win <strong>of</strong> a<br />

million baht in a cooking contest.<br />

“I was supposed to be a food<br />

analyst working in the laboratory,<br />

trying to improve food safety<br />

and flavour,” says Chudaree,<br />

who graduated in Nutrition and<br />

Food Science at the University <strong>of</strong><br />

Nottingham, England. It can be<br />

said that she found the idea <strong>of</strong><br />

living <strong>of</strong>f a job in food analysis<br />

unappealing. Why, just look at<br />

what she would deal with: a<br />

cold and quiet laboratory with<br />

folks in white outfits, for one.<br />

Then there are microbes to study<br />

and food additives and artificial<br />

flavours – no wonder being a<br />

food scientist job is not her cup<br />

<strong>of</strong> tea. She was once captain <strong>of</strong><br />

her basketball team; a fact that<br />

wasn’t mentioned on the reality<br />

show. The sport encouraged Tam<br />

to move quickly in unexpected<br />

directions and enjoy chasing a<br />

challenge and the ball, <strong>of</strong> course.<br />

“I followed my passion for<br />

cooking and it lead me to other<br />

side <strong>of</strong> the food industry; to a<br />

kitchen with a chopping board<br />

and heat. I like the ambience<br />

<strong>of</strong> the kitchen,” says Chudaree.<br />

“Food analysis is too scientific,<br />

leaving no room for art. Cooking<br />

is a blend <strong>of</strong> art and science. In<br />

the kitchen, imagination and<br />

54

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