When did you realise you wanted to work in hospitality?
My parents were farmers so I was always surrounded by fresh fruit, vegetables and herbs and I learned to cook from my family. We cooked because our parents didn’t have time to, but I realised how much I enjoyed it and knew that was the career path I wanted to go down. I love to cook for people as it makes me happy when I see people enjoy my food.
Where and how did you get your start?
When I was 14 I started cooking noodles from a stall under the roof of my parent’s house. This noodle shop was my first business. When I was 18, I moved to Hong Kong and worked in a restaurant and takeaway while also working as a nanny. I then started my own grocery shop and takeaway at 26.
Sum up your current work life in one sentence.
My work life is just like the Chao Phraya river, it’s always moving and always busy! Who has been really influential on your career and why?
Who has been really influential on your career and why?
My parents – even though they weren’t ‘successful’, they were successful in their own right. They showed me what hard work was and that influenced my work ethic. They are the reason I started cooking, and the reason I keep cooking.
What’s next for you?
Keep cooking! I’d love to take Rosa’s global - that would be the dream. Each city has a different culture, ideas about food and ingredients which makes it challenging and very exciting to launch new restaurants. I’d love to bring my own authentic food to lots of different people.
What’s your one piece of advice to someone starting out?
You have to cook from the heart. Be honest with the way you cook and bring out the best of yourself through your food. Also think carefully when choosing who to work with!
Where did you last have a great meal?
When I was in Thailand hosting a trip in March, at my uncle’s house. I was cooking with my family and we made the best pad Thai and chilli and basil stir-fry I’ve eaten in a long time! When I’m cooking for my family it’s amazing, we sit on the floor and they help me prep. We went out to the market to buy all the fresh ingredients and picked our herbs from the garden behind the house. A lot of heart and joy went into that meal. When the whole family comes to eat, that’s when it tastes the best.
Are there any openings you are looking forward to?
I’m excited for the Seven Dials Market by KERB that's opening in the summer. I’ve heard so much about it and can't wait to see what they do in terms of the stalls. I have a soft spot for markets and respect the people that run them as that's where we started Rosa’s. I’m looking forward to the refined market dining experience!
Where is the most exciting city for hospitality (aside from London)?
Hong Kong! I love Chinese food and it’s got such a great food scene. It’s very different to the Chinese food a lot of people are used to. I’ve spent a lot of time in Hong Kong so I know all the best spots! My favourite is the seafood on Lantau Island.
Who would you identify as a rising star?
My son, Richard! I can see from a very young age he would always stay in the kitchen with me, now he’s becoming a really fantastic chef. He really understands flavour and cooks with passion. He may not be working in kitchens at the moment but he definitely has potential.