Dalad Kambhu grew up in Bangkok and lived in New York before coming to Berlin and opening her restaurant Kin Dee. Here, she serves Thai cuisine made from local ingredients. She also likes to be inspired by regional products to create new variations. She works for the image and the appreciation of Thai cuisine and further still for diversity, equal opportunities and working conditions for women in gastronomy. We talked to Dalad Kambhu about food culture and sustainability in all respects.
Dear Dalad, introduce yourself briefly, who are you and what is the Kin Dee?
Hi my name is Dalad. I am the head chef at Kin Dee Berlin.
What’s special about your restaurant? What’s different from others?
We use local products from small farmers and commit to sustainability as much as we can. We embrace our heritage and continue to make curry paste in our kitchen like how the Thais do in Thailand. It took a lot of time and work but commit to it.
And oh! The food is actually really delicious.
Your kitchen team consists only of women. Is this a conscious decision?
Yes but we are not limited to women and women of color only. We worked with very nice men before and will continue to work with them. It’s just in general, as a Woman of Color, as a chef who is committed to sustainability, I won’t be able to look in the mirror if I only hire privileged people.
What has to change in order to have more women choose a career in gastronomy?
In order to get more women to work in gastronomy, we need an understanding of equality VS equity. There is no point in trying to hire more women/WOC/POC if the restaurant itself fails to understand that it never was a fair game in this world.
You grew up in Bangkok and lived in New York for a long time. How do you see the German food culture in comparison?
New York food culture is very different from Bangkok and Berlin, which is the only city I ever lived in Germany. Though, I would say that the food scene in Bangkok and New York are much more diverse and advanced. Here in Berlin I found many people still have the expectation for asian food to be cheap and western food to be luxury. Quality, heritage and cooking technique are not the only things that determine whether the food is luxury or not.
„It’s just in general, as a Woman of Color, as a chef who is committed to sustainability, I won’t be able to look in the mirror if I only hire privileged people.“
We are committed to ensuring that the true price of food is paid so that the people who produce it are also paid fairly. You said it’s difficult for you to offer high-priced Thai cuisine in Berlin. Has this changed since the opening of Kin Dee?
It only changed after I received the star. I made the same food the night before I received a Michelin star and the night after, yet the responses are hugely different.
What are you missing or what do you wish you had more of?
„In order to get more women to work in gastronomy, we need an understanding of equality VS equity.“
What are the benefits of working with local producers for you and how does that influence your cooking?
It’s just so delicious. The products are so delicious it makes cooking much more inspiring. True, it can be challenging to incorporate them into a Thai dish but we have managed quite well so far.
Why did you become a member of Die Gemeinschaft and what issues are important to you to advance together?
I love Frieda’s work.
And I think it is important to support the small farmers network. Otherwise we would end up with industrialized products which taste shit and are horrible for the environment and society economically.
Thank you for the Interview and your time!