Dhom’s Kitchen chef ‘Dhom’ Chotipimai tells us about her favourite Thai dish right now and explains why she follows the traditional principles of Central Thai cooking, making all curry pastes, sauces and marinades from scratch.
What is your name?
What is your restaurant?
Dhoms Kitchen, Cooroy
What is your favourite dish this season?
My favourite dish at the moment is our prawn and pork dumplings with spiced black vinegar. It’s a traditional Central Thai take on a Chinese dish. We add a paste of coriander root, white pepper and garlic to give the dumplings a distinctive Thai flavour. We use pork from Forage Farms and local Mooloolaba prawns.
Do you have any cooking tips that you’ve learnt as a chef?
I stick to the rules of traditional Central Thai cooking which are both strict but also flexible to allow you to be playful with ingredients. At home I keep things simple, not too complicated and love using fresh ingredients from our garden. We make organic chicken stock from Bendele Farm chickens which is the essential base for many of our dishes. Always remember to the taste of what you are cooking to what you like and what you remember when you were growing up.
Why did you decide to become a chef?
When I was working at Chiangmai University with my partner we befriended a local restaurant owner. For over two years we spent most of our spare time learning traditional Central and Northern Thai cuisine. When we returned to Australia we were staying in Noosa and decided to visit Cooroy. We came across an empty run down cafe for lease. We put all the money we had together to renovate and open our restaurant. We had no idea whether the business would succeed with little business experience. We are still in the food business almost 20 years later!
What makes your restaurant stand out in Noosa?
We do authentic Central Thai cuisine. We follow the traditional principles of Central Thai cooking and make all our curry pastes, sauces and marinades from scratch. We buy as much of our produce as possible from local producers who have become friends over the years. This allows us to incorporate the freshest seasonal ingredients into our menu. We were recently given recognition for our support of local producers and traditional Thai cooking techniques with a Snail of Approval accreditation from Slow Food Noosa.
Tell us a little about yourself outside of your work.
I love spending time in the garden tending my roses and growing vegetables and herbs.
What was your first job?
My first job was working as a researcher for a corporate firm.
What is your next challenge?
We are working on a new product range we have been researching and developing the last few years. It’s a range of frozen and bottled products based on traditional Thai recipes. We are in the final stages of logo and label design and plan to launch our product range by this Christmas.
What do you like most about living in Noosa?
I feel so fortunate to live in the Noosa Hinterland with it’s beautiful natural environment and perfect climate. I am able to locally source and grow so many of the herbs and vegetables I up grew up with in Thailand which I can incorporate into our cooking.