"I also like that I don’t have to think about what to wear to work."
With a rich background in esteemed kitchens globally, Chef Dominic Hong leads SoCal as Head Chef, infusing his international experience into Bangkok's dining scene. His culinary mastery, highlighted by a commitment to quality and innovative California-inspired cuisine, showcases his journey through world-class dining establishments. Dominic's approach, characterized by creativity and meticulousness, reflects his dedication to enhancing communal dining experiences, resonating with SoCal's emphasis on connection and shared enjoyment.
What can one expect from SoCal ? What is your recommended dish?
Casual fun food that doesn’t break the bank, Fresh vibrant flavors that don’t leave you in a post meal coma. At the heart of it, the food in Socal is as focused on a persons health and wellbeing as it is focused on being delicious. I try to strike a balance without compromising one for the other.
My current favorite dishes are the Beetroot salad, Hamachi crudo & Lumina farms lamb rump. To me they best capture the food at SoCal, light, healthy, full of flavor and with many international influences combined with Modern American as a base.
What do you like most about being a chef?
I like that the work I do has a visible effect almost immediately. Having worked in an office, I'm aware that much of your work is either never recognized or its effects are only felt further down the pipeline, where you're no longer involved. Kitchens are much the opposite of that. I also like that I don’t have to think about what to wear to work.
Tell us a bit about challenges you have had as a chef, and how do you overcome them?
Every new week is a challenge since I started my career in the kitchen as there should be no end to a chefs development. There’s always room to be better, faster, smarter, more creative. That being said I think the biggest challenge is the changing market for FNB & chefs. There’s a very obvious corporatization of food these days and you can see this most obviously in busy areas like malls where every food outlet is some sort of chain/franchise. Food is more about branding, presentation and the wow/tiktok factor rather than its overall taste and quality. This puts me in a position where I have to balance my ego as a chef, doing what works vs what I believe is right.
What do you do when you are not cooking?
I’m always doing something related to cooking, I tend to hang around supermarkets a lot, tops, big c, Don Don Donki, Ufm Fuji markets and so on. The difference is that on my days off I’m cooking for myself where I allow myself to make mistakes and have fun, or to just cook something really basic and boring.