From Engineering to Marketing to finally becoming a Chef
Who said you need to stick with one career for the rest of your life?
It was an absolute pleasure speaking with Fish Srisuk (especially as I hired her), to discover how she has finally found her true calling and passion in life as a chef, and how she has started a new Thai cooking blog which she created during lockdown.
What is your background and current role within the hospitality industry?
My background is originally in Engineering. I studied for three years and graduated in Mechanical Engineering. After this I moved over to digital marketing and worked in this field for about two years. I have always been the creative type, but I am also quite analytical, therefore moving over to digital marketing was a good move for me. However, throughout my life and since I was young, cooking has always been there with me. Now I am a Chef and work for the Theo Randall Restaurant.
What inspired you to become a Chef?
It was because of a New Year’s resolution back in 2018. I knew that I always loved cooking and wanted to take my cooking skills to the next level, so I signed up for a cooking course at Leith’s. After graduating, I found myself spending too much money on groceries, spending almost £100 pounds every weekend. I then thought why am I not getting paid to cook?
At that point I started looking for a weekend position to work as a chef. I was working seven days a week for a good six months. I then decided to go back home for a while (to Thailand), and afterwards decided to quit my job in marketing to become a full-time chef. Theo Randall once said to me that you will never feel like you are working if you are doing something you love. The fact that I was working for seven days a week for six months and never complained once, showed me that I must really love to cook.
What are the most challenging and rewarding things about being a chef?
I have not been in the industry for very long, but I find that being around beautiful ingredients is rewarding. I think the Theo Randall Restaurant is the perfect place for this, as Theo Randall really focuses on using top quality ingredients. Being around people on a daily basis, who share the same passions as myself makes me very happy.
In terms of what is really challenging, in the kitchen you go through a lot of ups and downs. Emotionally, people can be nice to you one minute when everything is going well, and then five minutes later people are shouting at you. However, I realise it is not done maliciously, so I do not take it personally.
What advice would you give to anyone trying to start a career as a chef?
The bottom line would be that you need to love it. With my past careers you did not have to love it but could still be good at it. However, with cooking you must have a passion for it. You must put your mind past the fact that people may shout at you and you must love being in the kitchen.
It is not going to be like the Saturday Live Kitchen environment on TV where everyone is so jolly. There are going to be ups and downs, so you just need to really love what you do.
Where would you like to see your career and passion for cooking in the next 5 years?
I would really love to be able to share my passion of food. In particularly food from Thailand, as this is where I am from. I would also like to travel and spend time in other parts of Asia and not just Thailand.
Hopefully one day I would like to start a supper club, where I can share my culinary experience. Thai food goes beyond the few dishes that are known in the UK and London. Thai cuisine consists of four main regions, however I find that Thai dishes that are represented in the UK, are only focused on the main central region of Thailand.
My mum is from the South and my Dad is from the North East of Thailand, so I really want to showcase that there is more to Thai cuisine, than what is represented in the UK at the moment.
What have you been doing during the isolation period to keep busy?
I have been reading a lot of books but mainly I have been cooking. I have also learnt some new skills from an online food photography course which was fun. I have packaged the food photography skills with my cooking skills and started a food blog. The blog helps to showcase the photography skills I have learnt and also shares stories about Thai food. The blog is called Noir Cookery.
What is your favourite meal to cook?
This would definitely be Thai food. I love spicy food and I can take a lot of spice. Thai southern cuisine is known for it’s spice.
I would choose my mums recipes. It’s incredibly hot and you are going to be in pain the next day but it is just so good. My mum’s recipes are not just one dish. So, a recipe could be a curry using turmeric and hot chillies which could be accompanied with fried fish for example. It is a spread of different foods that you can find in the southern parts of Thailand.
If you were trapped on a dessert island, what 3 food or drink items would you want with you?
Chillies go incredibly well with sea food, which hopefully I would catch on the island. Lime or lemon because it goes well with seafood and then I would also have beer.
Name one interesting thing about you that you would like people to know?
My name is actually called Fish. My mum named me Fish which is a translation from my Thai name which means baby fish.
Complete the sentence. I am happiest when?
I am eating my mums cooking. When I was small, I would spend a lot of time standing in the kitchen being in her way and she would chase me out. Now that I have grown up, I have connected the dots. I believe the reason that I enjoy cooking now, is because when I was young, I was constantly around my mum cooking in the kitchen. Being so far away from home has probably brought up some feelings of nostalgia, as right now, I feel like I want to go home and have some of my mums cooking!!