The latest Trip Advisor Travellers’ Choice Awards saw David’s Kitchen in Chiang Mai, Thailand, win some very prestigious accolades. Affectionately known as ‘DK’ to their many regulars, David’s Kitchen has been awarded not only the ‘best fine dining restaurant in Thailand’, but the ‘best in Asia’. Did I also mention #21 in the world!
Awards of this level can only be earned by a combination of; passion, tireless hard work, and sheer determination!
David, his wife Prom, and business partner Chef O, have excelled in delivering a faultless fine dining experience in a relaxed and non-pretentious family environment, as David states:
“You will arrive at David’s Kitchen as hungry as a stranger. You leave as satisfied as a family friend”.
I’m a regular at David’s Kitchen, and it’s one of my favourite restaurants in Thailand. This week I was able to sit down to lunch with David, to ask him how David’s Kitchen has become so successful.
Q. David, congratulations! Where did David’s Kitchen start? Where did it all begin?
David: My wife Prom is a professionally trained Chef and David’s Kitchen started after we teamed up with Chef O, who is now our partner, and was formerly at the Mandarin Oriental Dhara Dhevi. We found the most wonderful site on the Ping River, 14Kms outside of Chiang Mai. We loved the location, but we really had no idea how difficult it would be to attract guests to come, because of the distance from town. The first six months were quite scary, as we had invested heavily in the restaurant, and were not getting as many Guests as we’d have liked. Then suddenly it exploded, and we were full every night, and we needed somewhere bigger! We found the most wonderful new location and so we moved much closer to the city.
Q. I loved the location of the first David’s Kitchen on the banks of the Ping River, but I agree that it was certainly a long way out of town, and for visitors to Chiang Mai it may have been difficult to find. Your current location is now much more convenient, in a recently converted building very close to the centre of the city. For guests that are not familiar with Chiang Mai, how can they find you?
David: We are directly opposite the British Council and most Taxi’s and Tuk-Tuks already know us. The best thing to do is to dial our number, and we can give directions to your driver in Thai. We also have our own car service, which is 200 baht each way (so round trip is 400 baht) This service is only available in the Chiang Mai old city, as our car and driver is doing a circuit all evening.
Q. David’s Kitchen has maintained the number one position in Chiang Mai on Trip Advisor for well over two years now. Not only have you received some of Trip Advisor’s most prestigious awards, you have also been recognised as one of Thailand Tattler’s ‘best restaurants’ for the past two years running. What do you attribute to the continual success of David’s Kitchen?
David: I think that the secret to our success is that we all love what we do. I get excited every day about coming into the restaurant, and Chef O cooks everything with such love that he often says, ‘every dish that leaves his kitchen leaves with a little piece of his heart’.
We are also truly blessed with having the most wonderful team that anyone could possibly wish for! I always comment that we do not have ‘Customers’ but we thankfully have a very large number of ‘Guests’. I think that there is a big difference! Every night for all of us it’s as if we’re entertaining guests in our home. We treat every guest as a close family friend. It’s our continued passion, I believe, which has contributed to our success. Quite simply we all love what we do!
Q. David’s Kitchen is certainly the place for a wonderful fine dining experience in Chiang Mai, but as a long-term resident of Chiang Mai, can you recommend some other things that your guests who are visiting Chiang Mai might like to do whilst they are here?
David: I’ve lived in Thailand for 17 years, and one thing I still do on a regular basis is to get up early in the morning, and go to offer food to the monks as they’re on their morning Alms round. Offering food to the monks is something that’s done by Thai people every day, in every village, and every city throughout Thailand. The best place to do it in Chiang Mai, is to go just past the entrance to Chiang Mai Zoo (on the way up to the mountain). From here you can find vendors at the side of the road, selling food that you can buy, to offer to the monks. This is a complete and total experience of Thai Culture, and very moving.
Another good thing to do is a Thai Cookery Course, where you not only learn how to cook Thai food, but also have a fun and pleasant day. The School I like is ‘Thai Farm Cooking School’ and they take you to a local market as part of the experience.
My last suggestion is a really magical experience, and that is spending a day at the Elephant Nature Park, where you get to bathe the elephants. This is definitely highly recommended!
Q. What does the future hold for David’s Kitchen?
David: Short term, we’re opening a bar next to the restaurant on November 15th, and then in 2017 we’re planning on opening a Cigar and Whisky Bar upstairs on the 2nd floor. Long term, we’re very excited about the future, and busy planning more openings and projects that will eventually lead to our concept being exported to other countries.
Thank’s David. For more information on David’s Kitchen, including location and opening hours, please visit their website.