Nara Suttichanond, Executive Chef of the Holiday Inn Phuket Resort, took a break from his work running the hotel’s kitchens to show us how to make Khao Pad Talay with style.
Kao Pad – Thai for “fried rice” – is a dish you can find all over Thailand, and which anyone can cook, but an artist such as Chef Nara can make it look and taste extra-special. We’re sure you will enjoy it at home with family and friends.
But before you rush off to the kitchen, let’s get to know the chef a bit. Chef Nara is from Krabi, just across the bay from Phuket. He has always worked in kitchens, including those in top-name hotels such as Novotel, the Dusit Laguna Phuket, and the Balikpapan in Indonesia. He also had a Thai restaurant in Cairns, Australia, which he started with friends.
When did you join the Holiday Inn Phuket Resort?
I was here for the first time in 1987 when the Holiday Inn had just opened in Patong. I worked here for four years before moving on to look for new experiences. I came back in 1998 and I’ve been here ever since.
When did you first start cooking?
I don't know...when I was young, I guess. I had to help out in my family kitchen. I was not really cooking anything; more preparing ingredients for my mother to cook. I found out early on that cooking was not a difficult thing at all. It actually became second nature later.
When did cooking become your career?
I started in 1977 in Manama, the capital of Bahrain, at the Ramada. I remember, at the beginning, that I didn’t really understand much about the job. It took about four years before I really started to enjoy my work – I also got promoted. Being a chef is a fascinating job, so I’ve carried on doing it ever since. While working at the Ramada, I also had the chance to get more valuable training abroad, including stints at the Metropole Hotel in London and a hotel in Düsseldorf, Germany. I was there in Bahrain for total 10 years.
What is the best part of being a chef?
I think being a chef is an honourable profession. You get many chances to meet world travellers, to make new local and international friends, and plenty of chances to travel. These opportunities, together, have broadened my mind.
What do you most like to eat, and why?
When it comes to food, I’m quite easy to please; I can eat just about anything. But my favourite cuisine must be E-san food [the style of food that originates from the northeast of Thailand]. It is so full of flavour, and it’s not fattening.
What are your top priorities at work?
There are four things that I always pay attention to while working; teamwork, customer focus (knowing about customers’ need), business know-how (knowing about profit margins) and knowing the product well (recognizing which dishes will sell and which dishes resort guests do not care for.)
If you weren’t a chef, what other career would you choose?
I would like to own my own business. I want to open my own restaurant again. I already have the know-how and I really like to work with food.