Because I love to cook! I have been surrounded by food my whole life, even from a young age I was cooking. I want to share my passion with people so they can experience authentic Thai and Laotian food. No tricks, just good food.
Tell us something you wish you had been told at the start of your career?
I wish I knew how difficult it would be to source authentic ingredients in the UK. When I came to the UK 14 years ago getting green papaya, the main ingredient in my favourite dish Som Tam, was very difficult – and expensive. This meant adapting some of my recipes.
What do you do in your spare time?
I cook for my friends and family. I genuinely enjoy cooking and live to cook. When I’m not cooking I’m looking at other people’s food on Instagram.
What’s your favourite restaurant or group of restaurants (besides your current one)?
Dokke in St Katherines dock. I can only enjoy a meal when I know the chef is cooking from the heart. The Dokke has everything, great ingredients, dishes and a chef that puts his heart and soul into his cooking. It’s also walking distance from my house, which is always a bonus.
What would you be doing if you weren’t in restaurants?
I’d probably set up a lifestyle resort, something along the lines of a group of chalets in the mountains where I could grow vegetables and guest can pick their own.
What motivates you?
I’m very competitive and want to be the best at what I do so I’m motivated by wanting to be a better chef than other people. And I have full confidence in what I cook.
Where was your last holiday?
Thailand, I went back to my hometown of Khao Koh to see my sons become ordained as monks. It was a very proud moment for me as a mother.
Which colleague, mentor or employer has had the biggest influence on your approach to the restaurant business?
My head chefs are my biggest influence. I respect each and every one of them. They work so hard and have so much experience. We learn from each other.
What keeps you up at night?
My boiler – I should really get that fixed.
Best business decision?
To set up Rosa’s, the restaurant I love. Starting with a market stall in Brick Lane taught me the basics, but moving to a more permanent site meant we could expand and grow to where we are now.
What are you reading at the moment?
I only read cookbooks, at the moment it’s a French cookbook I’ve had for about 20 years. I re-read it every now and then to get inspiration.
What piece of advice would you give to those looking to climb the rungs in the business?
Find the right people to get involved in your company, people who believe in you and your ideas and are passionate about your business.
If you could change one thing about the restaurant industry today, what would it be?
How much influence social media reviews have on a business, some complaints can be really damaging to a restaurant. I don’t believe in reading reviews, you’ve got to experience it for yourself.