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.
Funny, loving, resilient.
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.
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.
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.
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.
My Margiela Tabi boots.
Cook with your heart, not with your ego.