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01 DH Culture Dalad Kambhu

Food

10 Questions with Chef Dalad Kambhu

Words Steph WadeImages Robert Rieger and Angela LamprechtDate 09 February 2024

In celebration of 20 years of ZONAMACO, Mexico City’s most lauded art fair, we teamed up with Grupo Habita to host “Thai Shop”, a culinary collaboration between Berlin-based chef Dalad Kambhu and Círculo Mexicano’s head chef Enid Velez.

Kambhu has been turning up the heat with her signature creativity—fusing traditional Thai flavors with a contemporary European twist in her restaurant Kin Dee, an approach that has elevated her to culinary stardom. Meanwhile, chef Enid Velez, based in Mexico City, is one of the rising stars at the center of the city’s expanding gastronomy scene, having been nominated for Food & Wine's ‘Best New Chefs’ award in 2023.

With Thai Shop, the pair explore the culinary borders between Thailand and Mexico. Ahead of Kambhu’s presence at Zonamaco, we sat down with her to chat about where her career has taken her and what her idea of perfect happiness is.

02A DH Culture Dalad Kambhu
02B DH Culture Dalad Kambhu
02C DH Culture Dalad Kambhu

“I am excited to cook Thai food out of Mexican products. Thai Shop is an idea inspired by what a traditional Thai shop would be if you found it in Mexico.”

Dalad Kambhu

Hey Dalad, describe yourself in 3 words?

Funny, loving, resilient.

 

Your work has taken you all over the world, including starting with supper clubs in NYC, collaborating with chefs from Copenhagen and Mexico, and recently Paris. How does this experience shape the dishes that you cook?

Traveling and cooking around the world can be incredibly inspiring because you get to meet people from all over. You get to share your culture through food in places that have their own culture and ways of being. It’s beautiful, and I always leave filled with positive energy.

 

What’s one of the coolest things you’ve ever done?

Cooking in Paris recently was pretty amazing. It was a collaboration with Crosby Studios and We Are Ona, with a sculptural installation using running dishwashers. I also loved cooking in a potato field in Austria as well; it was a dream to be surrounded by wild plants, flowers, and mountains in the middle of summer at Rote Wand Gourmet Hotel. That was beautiful and special. But I guess overall, moving to Berlin and following my dream is the coolest thing I’ve ever done.

03 DH Culture Dalad Kambhu

The Field Kitchen event together with Rote Wand Gourmet Hotel

04 DH Culture Dalad Kambhu

Wildly creative dishes inspired by cuisines from Asia to Europe

Tell us about Thai Shop. What can we expect?

Mexican and Thai crafts, culture, and food have so many similarities. I am excited to cook Thai food out of Mexican products. Thai Shop is an idea inspired by what a traditional Thai shop would be if you found it in Mexico.

 

In what ways do Thai and Mexico’s culinary traditions intersect?

The flavor profiles of the ingredients. At the end of the day they are completely different cuisines but I have never been anywhere else where I can find local ingredients that coincide with Thai cuisine like I do in Mexico.

 

What is your idea of perfect happiness?

My family.

05 DH Culture Dalad Kambhu

With no formal training Kambhu quickly became a globally-recognized chef and recipient of multiple awards

What is the quality you most like in a person?

Integrity.

 

What's one thing we'll always find in your carry-on luggage?

My Margiela Tabi boots.

 

What is a quality you love about yourself?

My honesty.

 

One piece of advice for young eager chefs?

Cook with your heart, not with your ego.

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