This Culinary Power Couple Is Commited To Preparing Eco-friendly Thai Food
Bangkok’s culinary power couple ‘Bo’ Songvisava and Dylan Jones ties memories to undiscovered delicacies and cooking styles from lesser-known Thai regions, while committed in achieving a zero-carbon footprint in their kitchen.
From cooking side-by-side and falling head over heels for each other in London to co-launching a modern Thai restaurant in Bangkok and audaciously catering their own wedding — Duangporn ‘Bo’ Songvisava and Dylan Jones make the ultimate chef power couple.
However, as one would expect from working in the kitchen, things can get pretty heated. “It’s more like a slow burn,” says Jones about his relationship with Bo. They would fight and she would walk out. When she does return, he’d ask her: “Did you forget your knife?”
This fervid dynamic between the two is thankfully channelled into their cooking for the most part. The duo, who started Bo.lan in 2009, now ranked among Asia’s 50 Best Restaurants, is currently in town as Chang’s chef ambassadors for the 2017 Chang Sensory Trails, an annual global gastronomy platform that celebrates Thai flavours and lifestyle.
Lucky for us, Bo and Jones have decided to put together their fondest memories (instead of furious ones) on a plate, such as ‘Quite A Find’, depicting their discovery of a rare shrimp-less curry paste in the lesser-known Thai region of Kho Raat, which they’ve decided to simmer with minced lamb. There’s also the ‘Beachside Chilli’, a fiery number of oysters with a traditional seafood sauce, which showcases the complexity yet balanced flavours and textures tantamount to authentic Thai cuisine.
Its seems like the pair has gone out of their way to have specific food items. The multi-sensorial menu, best paired with ice-cold beer, tries to use unprocessed products too — down to the smallest grain of organic rice.
Bo says: “Everything comes from nature, and if you still want to have good food, you have to take care of nature. If you don’t take care of the environment today, you won’t have good food, or food for that matter, in the future. Why would you commit suicide in that way?”
Dylan chips in: “Basically, we’re trying to safeguard our career because the state of the environment today is at a tipping point. As cooks, we have the great ability to affect change even in a small way. Through our restaurants, what we choose to use and work with, we’re making a conscious effort and political statement on how we want to affect the future.”
The couple has also spearheaded the slow food movement in Thailand’s capital. A resistance to fast food, it is keen to safeguard heritage dishes, biodiversity, food wisdom, while promoting responsible consumption. “The beauty of slow food is that it is applicable to any culture and any community because it deals primarily on a local level,” says Jones. “Good, clean, and fair is the underlining message — good for everybody, clean growing conditions for the ingredients, plus all who are involved should be given a fair life, from the farmers to consumers in terms of cost and pricing.”
For all their parallel passions in green and sustainable cooking practices, the culinary love birds cannot differ more when it comes to their personal food favourites. Thai-born Bo has to have “a bowl of noodles with every meal”, while Australian Jones opts for “vegemite with cheese on toast” as his go-to grub.
Chang Sensory Trails returns to Singapore for its second edition at The Promontory. The two-day open event takes place from 4pm to 10.30pm on 7 and 8 July 2017.