There is no executive Chef; each chef runs his or her own show.
Lebua is a luxury dining destination self-styled as the world's first 'vertical destination', and home to a whopping 11 outlets including a pair of Michelin two-starred restaurants, Chef's Table and Mezzaluna. Lebua is also renowned for its award-winning fine dining venues, Sirocco and Breeze, and in addition to the restaurants there’s Pink Bar that offers rare Champagne, and Alfresco 64 - a whisky bar which made the Telegraph UK's 17 Incredible Rooftop Bars to Visit Around the World, but to name but a few.
Despite the pounding the hospitality industry has taken as a result of Covid, this place shows no sign of slowing down, and with so many great dining experiences under a single roof, I now have the opportunity to feature not just one, but four chefs from Lebua's finest outlets:
Supinya Piromklad – Sirocco
Ryuki Kawasaki – Mezzaluna
Sam Pang – Breeze
Vincent Thierry - Chef's Table
Why Is Your Food Unique?
Chef Supinya: Because our CEO Deepak Ohri gives us an amazing amount of freedom and support which in turn gives us the opportunity to invent recipes and new techniques based on Mediterranean cuisine, creating a whole new experience for our customers.
Chef Ryuki: My food is unique because of my style of cuisine: Japanese-influenced French cuisine. Originally I'm from Japan but I worked with three different French three-Michelin-star chefs for 20 years around the world. When I started to work at Lebua, I didn't have my own style yet, but worked with Deepak and followed his advice to use my background, culture, and experience to create something unique. My style subsequently developed to where it is now. I have more and more confidence now in what I'm doing, as unique as it is.
Chef Sam: My ingredients contribute to my food's uniqueness, using fresh Southeast Asian spices, and traditional cooking methods such as stewing, boiling, steaming, and frying. They can all be well integrated into the dishes!
Chef Vincent: Actually, I'm not sure my food is unique. I do have my own cooking style which is based on quality ingredients, seasonality, and good technique, while always trying to find the best mix of ingredients making the plate.
What's Your Signature Dish and Why?
Chef Supinya: Dover Sole is the signature dish; with our recipe it represents the epitomic flavor of Mediterranean cuisine.
Chef Ryuki: My signature dish is Bincho Charcoal-Grilled Niigata Murakami Wagyu Beef. There is so much Wagyu beef in Japan, but our CEO advised me to use Wagyu sourced from my hometown because I know its quality and the background of the product so well, so I have more confidence to use it. We import this high quality Wagyu to Bangkok only for Mezzaluna, and we cook it by first using Japanese marination and then applying French cooking techniques.
We change the menu by the season but this is the only one dish we have on the menu all year round, served with seasonal garnish.
Chef Sam: Chilli crab, black pepper crab, and foie gras beef tenderloin. Guests who come to Breeze must order these dishes.
Chef Vincent: At Chef's Table we have two ingredients which have become our 'signature'.
The first one is our home-made salted butter, made with an organic local milk from Kao Yai, served with our home baked bread selection. The second is the Challans duck smoked with rice as a main course.
For the record, these two ingredients have become our 'signature' according to our guests - not me!
What is the Role of the Ego in the Culinary Scene?
Chef Supinya: Sometimes our ego gives us the confidence and ability to push ourselves to be the best and unique, but sometimes it will become our greatest obstacle to learn and develop ourselves, but our CEO encouraged us to change the ego to pride.
Chef Ryuki: I don't think I have any ego and I don't look at others. I appreciate that Deepak gives me the freedom and support that lets me do what I like to do and what I believe in.
Chef Sam: The key is putting your ego aside and trying different kinds of cuisine throughout your life. For me, Our CEO will share lots of his ideas that have come about as he travels around the world. He then gives me the freedom to create something that I like.
Chef Vincent: I don't think my ego plays a role. I just work every day with my team with the goal of pleasing our guests and improving our cuisine day after day!
Are you Involved in any CSR Initiatives?
Chef Supinya: We support royal projects and local farmers by using their products in our restaurant.
Chef Ryuki: We work with local producers and farmers, and always look to reduce wastage and increase recycling.
Chef Sam: Treat every product and ingredient with heart and soul. Let the ingredients show the best results - this is my philosophy as a chef.
Chef Vincent: CSR is something that is incorporated into our overall daily activities. I always try to use local Thai ingredients on our menu as much as possible to support local producers. My team comprises local Thai cooks, and at Lebua we also have internships involving local schools on a regular basis, meaning that we are training, teaching, and developing the local community, equipping them with French cooking techniques.
Lebua is clearly a unique destination, and Deepak has certainly made his mark in encouraging every one of his talented chefs to develop to their fullest potential – while his customers undoubtedly reap the benefits. There is no executive Chef; each chef runs his or her own show.