Few Thai chefs have achieved a level of expertise in Japanese cuisine to compare with Chef Chatree Pangsilp, Master Chef at Kisso Japanese Restaurant, The Westin Grande Sukhumvit, Bangkok. Chef Chatree began his culinary journey spending four years working at two top Japanese restaurants in Bangkok, before securing a dream move to Kisso, where for the past 14 years he has perfected his craft and cultivated his creativity in the company of some of the most highly skilled Japanese chefs, both resident at the restaurant and visiting as special guest chefs from Japan. Today, Chef Chatree is himself a highly skilled and artful practitioner of the fine art of Japanese cuisine. Not only does he have a keen appreciation of the key influence of the seasons on the dishes of the day but he is a consummate master of the multi-faceted and highly precise kaiseki culinary tradition. The proof, as ever, is in the eating of his sophisticated and gratifying menus.

What are your three most important ingredients?

Sake, Shoyu, and Katsuo

What was the first meal you ever cooked by yourself?

Fish soy sauce soup. My chef asked me to cook something, so I went for this.

What makes good Japanese cuisine?

Ingredients are key. You have to look for fresh and good quality ingredients. You have to know the right place to source your ingredients; for example, Hokkaido market fish are good. Fish found in this area are good in size and not too big. Sometimes too big isn’t good as it means the fish have too many tendons and not so much meat. Tsukiji, Tokyo is another good place for fish.

Craftsmanship is also important. Japanese cuisine is an art. You have to know your equipment and how to use it. Another important thing is decorations. Knowing the colors, the occasion, and what to use can also distinguish your cooking from other people’s.

Do you use any local ingredients?

We use local vegetables, but the rest of our ingredients – around 80% – that are cooked at Kisso are imported from Japan. Most of our fish are fresh and not frozen. The color and taste are different and I prefer fresh meat because of its taste.

What CSR initiatives do you have in your kitchen?

Food cost control is very important, so we utilize and maximize each item. For example, most parts of a fish can be used in cooking, so we won’t waste anything; even the bones can be used for soup.

What are your kitchen rules?

Quality control is everything. Before the food is sent out to our customers, I make sure our kitchen staff check the quality of the food, the size and taste, and the appearance.

What is your advice to someone who aspires to become a 5-star hotel chef?

First of all, you need to love to cook. Second, you have to learn the culture. For example, in Japanese cuisine the items on the plate will be served in odd numbers. For two people there will be five pieces of sushi so one of the guests will have to give one up to the other person. It’s culture and tradition that you need to know when cooking.

sponsored by Kaiousei