Can you tell us about your background Chef James?
I am the Global Head of Culinary at The Coffee Club. I have lived in Thailand for 11 years or more and has been looking after food development and new creation for The Coffee Club branches in Bangkok, the brand is also expanded throughout Southeast Asia. I am originally from Melbourne, Australia.
How did you start to become a chef?
I discovered what I liked doing when I was really young and so I started at the age of 15 or 16 as a chef. I acquired my culinary skills in Melbourne in an apprenticeship and then also studied at the Le Cordon Bleu, Adelaide in Australia. I have been a chef for at least 20 years now.
What is your inspiration of being a chef?
I love the ability to be able to create new dishes for people. It is an art form but you get the extra added value that people are able to taste and enjoy your dishes. It is product creative and passionate industry to be involved in.
When I am travelling, I enjoy working everyday – I have a passion for food and coffee so it doesn’t feel like working for me.
Most dishes we put together are simple – it is not meant to be complicated food but it has to be good quality with the basis of fresh recipes.
Can you tell us about the new dishes that are going to be in the menu starting from March?
We proudly introduce the Bangkok Eggs Benedict as the star of the new menu, what’s special about it is the heart of every classic Eggs Benedict – the hollandaise sauce. The basis of my culinary training was French so the recipes stemmed from a solid foundation of French cuisine blended with modern dishes. We adapted this French based sauce using the main Thai ingredients in Tom Yum. We have a little bit of Thai chilli paste which gives a sweet but also salty and buttery – a unique taste for our Eggs Benedict sauce, no one has done it in Bangkok.
The Bangkok Eggs Benedict reflects Bangkok – it reflects the Thai ingredients whilst maintaining the characteristic of brunch and a little bit of Australian heritage.
Is it going to taste like Tom Yum and what can we expect from this interesting combination of the French and Australian brunch with a Thai twist?
People can definitely expect ‘the unexpected’ taste, having the familiarity of the classic Eggs Benedict and a hollandaise sauce which has a little character of the spice, creaminess and sweetness. It has got the flavours of basic Tom Yum but does not the complexity of Tom Yum to the Eggs Benedict.
Our dishes are simple, fresh and good taste. All the key ingredients are imported.
What about the other two dishes of the Eggs Benedict menu?
We have roasted salmon and spinach Eggs Benedict. The classic combination of a smoked salmon is something that we see everywhere in the normal brunch menu, we wanted to create something unique for our customers. So we use roasted salmon dice as it adds another flavour, it makes for the perfect combination of a classic Australian and even English brunch.
Another one of our menu is the gluten free mushroom and spinach Eggs Benedict. Almost all our breakfasts come with bread, this one we use Portobello mushroom instead to keep it light specially for people are on diet with low carbs so they don’t feel heavy and tired finishing the meal. We also use imported baby spinach from Australia, a combination of freshness of fresh and perfectly cooked spinach.
Where does the creation of all these amazing dishes come from?
When I am creating a dish, my ideas come from travelling. I travel frequently between London, Singapore, Middle East, Bangkok and all around. I draw my inspiration from all those cities.
I am able to pick up different elements trying so much good food from restaurants and dishes cooked by incredible chefs around the world. When I get back to Bangkok, I use elements of the different dishes to my creation – that’s the starting point, we never stop learning.
What is the essence of The Coffee Club in term of the café’s trend and perspective?
It is accessible for everyone – a rendezvous to ‘Where will I meet you?’ – an office away from the office, for friends and for families in a relaxed environment. We are particularly popular with women – a place where they can feel comfortable.
You can get our breakfast menu all day, we are open at 6.30am where you can come and get your morning coffee or order your breakfast and stay as long as you want, with a good WiFi connection. You can even come in the evening and have the Bangkok Eggs Benedict.
We create our menu for everyone – women, men, kids and group of families, expats or Thais with a selection they are comfortable with.
We have a good staff and we love what we do with The Coffee Club. Our chefs in the kitchen are passionate about making great food no one else is making.