Adtavorn Charoonpontithi or Chef Gibb, is the executive chef at Anantara Sathorn. He started his culinary journey at the renowned ‘Le Jardin De Sens’ restaurant in France that hosts two Michelin star chefs. Chef Gibb graduated from French cooking school 'Le Repertoire de la Cuisine', but is not limited to just French food. All of these experiences and influences have forged his very own style now that he terms 'Modern European'.
Chef Gibb has worked with many renowned restaurants and hotels including Kee Club in Hong Kong, The Landmark Bangkok, Plaza Athenee Bangkok, Mantra at Amari Pattaya, Anantara Dhigu Maldives, and Tivoli in both Portugal and Brazil.
What Are Your Top 3 Ingredients In Your Home Kitchen?
Local Veggies, Local Fish, and Free range meat.
How Do You Define Your Cuisine?
Modern European. I started in French cooking but I didn’t want to limit myself to just that. Now, I combine Nordic cooking, Mediterranean cooking, Spanish cooking, Portuguese cooking, Chinese cooking, and Indian cooking into my own cooking style which is still based on French cooking techniques. I also use a lot of local ingredients in my dishes.
It’s a European cooking style that is open to change. It’s Modern European - 2018.
What Makes Your Food Different From Other Chefs’?
My food isn’t simple, yet it's also not complicated. There are other dishes that you might see that would require you to mix one with two and three and only then may you eat it. Or perhaps you have to eat this first and then followed by other items in a sequential order. My food is nothing like that. You see it and it is what it is. You can start with the veggies or you can start with meat - it's entirely up to the diner. There is no complication; I serve real food. I’d rather pay more attention in sourcing my ingredients rather than complicating my food.
What Is Your Signature Dish?
I actually don’t have one but if I had to pick one it would be my Scottish Salmon. It sounds so simple but it is not quite that simple when it comes to making it. I have my own technique in cooking salmon and quiao, and then I garnish it with black garlic (fermented), beetroots, lemon, and seaweed.
What Skill Sets are Required for Today’s Competitive World of Chefs?
I think Self Promotion is important today. That’s why I'm here (giving this interview). Secondly, you have to be creative. You should be able to come up with your own thing and not be looking to copy others. Lastly, you should be able to look after and manage your team. There are age differences, background differences, and so on. You need to be able to manage those differences and get them to work as a team.
What's your CSR initative?
My chefs and I would often cook for kids in prison. These kids were born in prison while their mothers were doing their time. We would go and visit them and cook for both mothers and the kids.
Another activity that would come under the heading of 'CSR' is that most of our products are locally sourced. I personally go to the source myself. There is no middle man between farmers or fishermen and the hotel. Timewise, it takes longer, but you get to help communities, individuals, and also guests get to eat something fresh and of good quality.
Maybe not all my products are made here but I try to have most of our products to be locally sourced, but there are some items that just have to be imported. For example, there exists Thai Wagyu which is also good but the price is higher than the Japanese Wagyu, so sometimes we need to take price into consideration too.
What are your Kitchen Rules?
Honesty is the best policy. You have to be honest to your guests, to your boss, and to yourself. Respect your work. There was a time when my staff changed the duck from free range to farm ducks that came from big companies just to have the dish in the restaurant. To me that's not acceptable. If you can’t find it, you can’t find it. It’s better to tell the guests that we don’t have it, rather than lie to them and replace it with something that’s not of our standard.