Thai cuisine expert David Thompson has parted ways with Como Hotels after nearly 20 years.
The Australian chef will leave his Michelin-starred restaurant Nahm, at Bangkok’s Metropolitan Hotel, today, April 30, to focus on his global food business Aylmer Aaharn.
In recent years, Thompson has returned to Australia with increasing frequency, opening three casual Thai eateries under the Long Chim name in Perth, Sydney and Melbourne.
The chef’s relationship with the Como group dates back to 2001, when he left Australia for London to open Nahm at at Como’s Halkin Hotel in London. Within a year, it became the first Thai restaurant to receive a Michelin star. He opened Nahm in Bangkok in 2010, which went on to be named the best restaurant in Asia in the World’s 50 Best Restaurants — and is currently ranked 28th on that list.
Nahm was recently awarded a Michelin star in Bangkok’s inaugural year of the guide.
Thompson received a lifetime achievement in 2016 for changing the face and reputation of Thai food globally.
The chef said he decided to leave Nahm last year so he can focus on both exploring and protecting the history and legacy of Thai food, as well as Bangkok-based Aylmer Aaharn, which now operates in six countries, including England, Singapore and Australia.
In a statement Thompson said Nahm had been an “extraordinary” restaurant.
“I believe that this has been due to the hard work and talent of all those involved, but most particularly the staff,” he said.
“For me, the most rewarding aspect is that Nahm has been a happy restaurant. Even as Nahm’s reputation grew, refined its service and succeeded as a business, the restaurant always retained its sense of sanuk; the pleasure in looking after customers.
“The application of culinary integrity in the kitchen was never to the cost of the joy in doing what we all loved. This is what I will always remember.
“It is a rare restaurant that can achieve all of this.”
Como announced a high profile replacement for Thompson, luring US-based food blogger turned Michelin starred chef Pim Techamuanvivit back to her birthplace to lead the kitchen.
Pim gave up her Silicon Valley career 15 years ago to become one of the world’s most influential food bloggers as ‘Chez Pim’ in 2003.
She opened her first restaurant, Kin Khao, in San Francisco in 2014, and earned a Michelin star.
Metropolitan Hotel General Manager Rohaan Chandra said Pim intends to uphold Nahm’s original roots in traditional Thai cuisine while also injecting her personal style and flavours to the menu.
In a statement Pim said: “I want diners who visit Nahm to feel as though they’ve been invited to the home of their Thai friends and to experience an authentic cuisine that’s rich in flavours and cooked from the heart”.