Australian chef, author, television presenter, and restaurateur, David Thompson is considered by many to be the world’s leading authority on Thai cuisine.
His connection to Thailand started with an unexpected detour on a 1986 holiday, which left the Sydney native in Bangkok. He discovered Thai food by “happy serendipity” and as a young chef began to immerse himself in the language as well as the cuisine. Eventually David found his way to recipes in Thai funeral books, ancient ceremonial recipes not often seen and rarely cooked. These manuscripts published as a memorial to the deceased often contain exceptional dishes. These documents have become his most valuable resource and inspiration.
At first, Chef David Thompson opened restaurants outside of Bangkok, bringing the authenticity of Thai food culture and flavours to a wider audience. Initially he created exquisite heritage Thai dining experiences in Sydney in the early 1990s. In early 2000’s David began to build an international reputation for his understanding and connection to Thai food, opening Nahm in London in 2001. His London establishment received a Michelin star within its first 6 months of opening.
Nine years later, David did what many critics considered audacious: he closed the London restaurant to return to his beloved home, bringing Nahm to Bangkok. His loyal international following continued but now his cooking was respected and enjoyed among local Thais, thanks in part to his use of the finest quality ingredients. Exceptional produce is essential to great Thai cooking and many of the restaurants’ ingredients come from David’s own provenance company.
The restaurant David created in Bangkok became a destination known for authentic Thai food and was quickly recognised as a World’s 50 Best Restaurant.
Never one to stand still, Thompson created Long Chim, a restaurant reflecting his earliest influence and first Thai passion – the modern food found on the streets and in the markets of Bangkok. The philosophy is simple – fast food, full flavoured and affordable. “The streets of Bangkok are the part of Thai culture I love the most. You’ll find most Thais prefer to eat in the markets and on the streets – and it’s where you’ll find me too,” says Thompson.
In March 2015, he officially opened the doors to the first Long Chim in Singapore. Australia followed with three establishments (Perth, Sydney, Melbourne) and his latest Long Chim opened early 2018 in Seoul, Korea.
In 2016, David Thompson was recognized with the Lifetime Achievement Award at Asia’s 50 Best Restaurant Awards for his dedication and commitment to Thai cuisine.
In mid 2018 David was awarded the White Global Gastronomy Award for his contribution to Thai culinary heritage. And in November 2018, David opened Aaharn, his first restaurant in Hong Kong. New restaurant ventures are planned for 2019 in Bangkok culminating with a new flagship restaurant at the recently announced Orient Express Mahanakhon hotel and scheduled for open before the end of this year.
He has released three books – Classic Thai Food in 1993, Thai Food in 2002 and Thai Street Food in 2010.