Meet our friends at... Tai Kitchen
We've been chatting to some of our partners that are taking part in the Thai Food in Action campaign.
This week, we caught up with Richard Poole, the Co-Founder of Tai Kitchen. Here’s what he had to say about why he’s partnered with us and how his business is supporting our charity;
Tell us about your business and what makes it unique?
“Tai Kitchen is a concept we came up with to basically explore Southern Thai cuisine. Thailand has a southern district which is very famous for its mixture of cultures. So you have the Silk Road, which went through Malaysia and there, there are loads of different sorts of food, that are not quite as well-known. We wanted to give customers that sort of option. So, for instance, one of our main dishes is a Hua King and that is a very South Thai dish and I don’t think you can get it anywhere on a menu in London. That’s what makes Tai Kitchen unique, I guess – a focus on South Thai ‘soul food’ also focussing on sustainability.”
What aspects of Thai Culture inspire you and are reflected in your business?
“Hospitality is very engrained in the [Thai] culture and I think, what we want to do, is be able to reflect that in our corporate practices. So for instance, we want to give at least 10% of our revenue towards good causes and we want to obviously be the market leader in sustainability. That’s how we reflect Thailand’s very very famous hospitality in our corporate practices.”
Why do you think Thai food is so popular with the British public?
“The UK’s not very famous for its hot weather, so they have to find it somewhere else don’t they? They have to find it in the food that they eat. I reckon British people are a lot more open to different sorts of cuisines. I think that’s a real positive about the British people. We are very open to trying new things when it comes to food.”
Why is it important to you that your business is partnered with a charity?
“We want to give back to the heritage that has made us money, basically. We don’t want to take things for granted. So for us to give back, especially to a cause that’s helping Thailand, it’s our way of saying thank you for lending us your recipes. It’s like a circle right? You repay and you don’t take things for granted in that respect. And I think it’s just a nice thing to do, as well.”
What does it mean to you to be helping children and families in Thailand?
“It means a lot. If you grew up in Thailand, the opportunities that I’ve had are ones that absolutely no one will have. In hospitality in the UK you can be a KP, a waiter, and then an owner within, let’s say, 10 years if you really put your mind to it. I guess you could possibly do that in Thailand – but with a lot more hardship. It’s near impossible, because of the wage disparity and the lack of opportunity that people have. So to help families is actually really, really personal to me. I want to be able to give other people the opportunities that I had.”
How is the 'Pad Thai For Life' scheme going?
“It’s going really well because - it’s our bestseller! Our Pad Thais out-perform every other dish. I think it’s a great thing, donating [a portion of] each order.”
If you could cook one dish for the kids we work with in Thailand, what would it be?
“Well you wouldn’t want me to cook, as I’m not great at making Thai food – which is weird! Maybe a Tom Yum. It’s probably the easiest because it’s literally just soup.”
Watch the full interview here: https://youtu.be/ZPAPyGOukJ0