At The Pass with Chef Chantana “Top” Srisomphan

Chef Chantana Top Srisomphan KSR Stephanie Dickison.JPG

Currently

Executive/Head Chef Khao San Road, Nana, and Little Khao.

Formerly 

Cooking in Bangkok and prior to that, working in Bangkok in Foreign Goods Import/Export.

Favourite dish to make right now

Papaya salad.

Last cookbook bought

Toronto Eats: 100 Signature Recipes From the City's Best Restaurants by Amy Rosen

Have you read it/tried any recipes

I have read it, but no time to try any of the recipes.

Name one dish or ingredient you’d like to see gone from menus 

Ketchup, especially in Thai cuisine.

And one dish or ingredient that you’re excited about right now and would like to see on more menus 

Thai Basil – it’s a fragrant and versatile herb.

Biggest influences

My dad - he taught me discipline and a good work ethic. Cooking-related: Gordon Ramsay, not so much for his food, but his direct way of speaking in the kitchen.  It inspired me to be a clearer communicator with my teams.

If you could eat at any restaurant in the world

The Box Tree Restaurant in the U.K.

The last thing you ate

Breakfast: Avocado toast. 

Three must-have ingredients always in your fridge

Fresh chilies, ginger, and garlic. 

Guilty pleasure

Magnum Almond Ice Cream bars. 

Top 3 favourite Toronto restaurants

Alo, Enoteca Sociale, and Pho Tien Thanh.

Top 3 favourite Toronto bars

Bang Sue Bar, Paris Paris, and Bar Isabel.

Go-to drink

I don’t drink much, but red wine is generally my go-to.

One habit you have in the kitchen that you should lose, but can’t seem to shake

Raising my voice a lot during service. Things can get stressful in the kitchen, and shouting and yelling aren’t my preferred ways to speak, but hard to stop sometimes.

One habit you have in the kitchen that will inspire young chefs

Showing my team about working together and being team players, not just telling them. Also demonstrating how to better communicate, and providing some information that I hope is helpful for them to learn. 

Name one hidden talent 

I am skilled at braiding hair. 

The best career advice you ever received

Work hard, and not just effort based on how much you get paid.  My father stressed the importance of giving one hundred per cent effort.

The worst career advice you ever received  

If things get tough, you can always quit. I’m not a quitter. Sometimes it is important to stay through the tough times -  you can learn a lot and improve yourself. 

Your advice for a young cook starting out in the business

Cooking and recipes are important, but people skills, and working as a reliable and good team player are just as important. Every kitchen has a team, small or big, and happiness and success depends on how well the team works together.