GOURMET TRAVEL: DAVID THOMPSON
Australian chef and restaurateur David Thompson is a widely respected world authority on Thai food and culture . After making a name for himself with Sydney restaurants Darley Street Thai and Sailor’s Thai in the 1990s, Thompson took his passion for authentic Thai cuisine to London and opened Nahm, the first Thai restaurant to be awarded a Michelin star. He has since left Nahm but still nurtures his Long Chim restaurants in Perth, Seoul, Singapore and Sydney.
What is your definition of a good meal?What inspires you so much about Thai food?
Something that is pleasing - it doesn’t have to be grand, it doesn’t have to be ornate it just has to be convivial and delicious. It can be on a rickety stool on the ground with a beer or with a great glass of wine and good company but always with something that’s good to eat.
It tastes bloody good.Is it true that a 90 year old Thai lady was your greatest inspiration?
She was the one who introduced me to the possibility of Thai food. She was one of many good cooks around but she was the first one that gave me an inkling there was so much more to Thai food than green curry.You’ve recently opened Aaharn in Hong Kong, any other new projects planned?
Quite a few - a few things in Bangkok, and a few things in southern Thailand but nothing else abroad as I’m sick of travelling.
Apart from your own, what are some of your favourite restaurants?
It depends, some of them are rather nondescript and unknown.. I don’t mind going to little unknown in places in Thailand it’s the unknown places that serve the best food. I had a fantastic oyster omelette yesterday at a place like that.Secret getaway spot in Thailand?
I’m not going to tell you. I can describe it though - there’s a wonderful lake at the top of a national park where you stay at the top and sometimes you’re connected to the world and sometimes you’re no. Very few known about it which is why I can’t tell you more about it - I'd like to keep it that way.What does luxury (in relation to travel) mean to you?
For me it's getting through customs and immigration with speed and not having to queue. Sometimes it's having someone wait for you with a car which is almost an indulgence.
What has been the most memorable place you have visited?
I don’t know whether it's an early morning trek in South Africa or being on chased by a rhinoceros because I didn’t climb that tree fast enough. Or it might have been walking through one of the great crusader castles in Syria (before it was consumed by the calamitous war) having read about it since I was a child. Or Isfahan and it particular the ceiling of its women's mosque.Your cruise ship sinks. You're going to end up on a desert island. What three ingredients do you take from the kitchen?
A cook, a farmer, and seeds.
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