Thai fare as it's meant to be
DHOM'S Kitchen is a culinary institution in Cooroy.
Sitting comfortably among Noosa's top Thai restaurants, co-owner/chefs Dhom Chotipimai and Spencer Willmott have developed an enviable reputation for their use of fresh, local produce and making all their own curry pastes, sauces and marinades freshly by hand on the premises.
Starting up initially on Cooroy's Maple Street in 2000, the pair has now developed a mobile pop-up service where they can appear at events and markets, with a regular attendance at Pomona's country markets.
Moving the restaurant to quieter Garnet Street in 2010 gave them a more intimate venue, where their many regular clients can come and sample a small, specialist menu which celebrates traditional eating styles from across Thailand.
That's not to say the pair is sitting on their laurels - Dhom and Spencer get back to Thailand as often as possible to make contact with family, as well as catch up on what's happening on the Thai culinary calendar.
Dhom's reputation has resulted in her invitation to join a number of top chefs on the stage on Friday at the Ginger Flower and Food Festival in Yandina, where she will present a range of easy Asian salads and desserts using ginger - and edible flowers.
"I like making simple, balanced food,” Dhom said.
"I still do a small menu (at the restaurant).”
Dhom and Spencer want to encourage people to try a more traditional way of enjoying Thai food - by sharing smaller, varied courses.
"In Bangkok maybe 15 small courses is normal,” Dhom said.
And it's about sharing food based on traditional recipes, she added.
"Saying 'hello' in Thailand is like really saying 'have you eaten yet?', and 'would you like to eat?',” Spencer said.
"Everyone's a foodie in Thailand.”
Dhom said the range of Thai food throughout the country was as diverse as "Japanese to French”.
"I was working in Chang Mai (in Thailand's north) for years,” she said.
"That's when I discovered edible flowers.”
Dhom and Spencer now have a 'market garden' at their Cooran home, growing a lot of the produce they use in their recipes.
She's looking forward to the Ginger Factory gig on the weekend.
"I always bought a little pack of ginger crystals from the Factory each year to take back to my family in Thailand,” Dhom said.
"They really love it.”