The Taste kitchen is heat central 6 days a week. Even though we only operate during dinner hours, the behind-the-scene workload often takes all afternoon while some dishes need to be prepared days ahead. Since heat and speed are two crucial components to Thai cooking, our chefs have to juggle all stations when the orders fly in. The busiest night could mean more than a hundred orders to cook in the mere length of three and a half hours. The rumour is true, only chefs with super human abilities could survive our version of the Hell's Kitchen. We talked to our chef Thong to get an insight of what it is like working as a chef at The Taste, #LivingTheTasteKitchenLife.
What is a usual day like in the Taste Kitchen?
We open for dinner from 5:30 to 9 pm, so we usually start in the early afternoon and finish around 10pm. Prepping takes massive amount of time and there are lots of details to take care of, mostly ingredients and wok station. Preparing meats and vegetables so they are ready to go, and we need to make sure the woks are smoking hot when we use them. We have soups on our menu, so we need to get soup dishes cooking first so the flavours could develop over time. Then we soak dry rice noodles for Pad Thai, those noodles need to be soft enough to work by the time orders come in. There are so many different sauce combinations for our dishes which means we also have to prepare all the sauces for the stir-fries.
What are the most-ordered dishes at The Taste and what makes them difficult to prepare?
1. Pad Thai
Pad Thai is always a popular dish to order across all Thai restaurants around the world. The trickiest part is the sauce - we have to make sure it is a perfect balance and it could make or break the dish.
2. Cashew Nut Stir Fry
It is a very popular stir fry dish with nuts and lots of vegetables. Stir-frying in a wok is always a little difficult to get right because of the intense heat. We have to make sure the heat is consistent so it doesn't overcook the vegetables.
3. Thai Garlic Black Pepper Stir Fry
The sauce is a very strong one, so it is important to keep the flavour well-balanced when making the sauce, we can't have too much garlic or black pepper otherwise it will become very overpowering.
What's the best part and worst part of being a chef?
Travelling and eating, always. As a chef you have opportunities to travel around the world for your job, to cook and eat different cuisines around the world is always exciting. It also helps to broaden your own horizon as a chef when it comes to creativity. On the other hand, the job sometimes creates a lot of pressure and long hours in a steam hot kitchen can be physically demanding. But it's worth it!
What's your favourite dish on our menu?
The Taste Pad Thai, it is a no brainer, we should trademark it.
Last but not least, what does Thai Food mean to you?
Thai food is unique because it is full of flavours. It's something that reflects the culture and heritage of us as Thai people and knowing others around the world enjoy it as much as we do gives me immense joy, especially as a Thai chef.
Can you see yourself as a chef in The Taste Kitchen now? Do you think you could handle the pressure of cooking more than thirty orders in under an hour? We have so much respect for the behind-the-scene heroes responsible for our consistent and mouth-watering Thai classics. If you don't see yourself fit for the challenge, at least you know our superheroes are always on 67 Lake Road preparing your favourites. Try Thong's recommendations in store, or on Uber Eats, and btw, do you know that we have recently launched online ordering?