Catch Ups: Matt and Palisa from Chat Thai
18 Jun 2020
Next in The Galeries Catch Up series is the powerhouse couple behind our beloved Chat Thai!
Matt Anderson talks to us about his and Palisa's roles in the family business, their certified organic farm, Chat Thai's community response to COVID-19, and also shares an easy recipe to create at home.
Read on to find out more...
TG: Tell us a bit about yourself and Palisa and your roles with Chat Thai.
MA: Restaurant management has got to rank amongst the lowest jobs for time scarcity. So our kids (9 & 11) have borne the brunt of that. But the rewards are amazing and we wouldn't have it any other way. Not sure we would "do it all again" though... Palisa & I met in Japan and made the decision to sidestep back to the family business in 2010. We are now across all roles at Chat Thai.
TG: You have your own certified organic farm, Boon Luck Farm, that provides produce for the restaurants. How important do you feel this is now, in this day and age, and what kind of impact does this have?
MA: The feedback from customers has been overwhelmingly positive since we started BLF in 2015 and our only regret is that we hadn't done it sooner. It has been a challenge to operate an organic farm from Sydney but the vertical integration opportunities have been mind-blowing and we have only just scratched the surface. The movement toward sustainably grown, organic, nutrient-dense, immunity-boosting produce was already gathering speed even before COVID-19, but now it is part of the fabric of society and here to stay. It also allowed us to control prices during COVID-19 which were fluctuating wildly for a while there. To be honest, knowing that we are putting organic, nutrient-dense healthy food from one of the highest rated volcanic soils on the planet into our patrons is a great feeling and motivates us to get out of bed every day.
TG: What’s the Chat Thai community like right now, internally and amongst your customers?
MA: From early March our call to action has been #communityB4profit, because we accepted that if Chat Thai survived this crisis then that would represent victory. Our customer base has supported us so strongly over the years we had an obligation to clearly show that it was not just a one way street. We immediately rolled out 30% discounts on home delivery, free meals for staff who did not qualify for Jobseeker, free meals for emergency services staff, and agreed to deliver free meals to the St. Vincent Covid Collection Centre for coalface staff. The customer response has been amazing and we have been able to retain most of our staff on a part time basis.
TG: What’s a simple and easy recipe you can recommend us to make at home?
MA: Nothing beats kai jeaw (Thai omelette) on rice for breakfast on the weekend.
1 tsp Oyster Sauce
1 tsp Fish sauce
1/2 tsp Ground Pepper
Chopped shallot, carrot (optional)
Mince Chicken (optional)
1. Crack the egg into the bowl and stir until foamy,
2. Add the ingredients and seasoning then stir again and rest
3. Set the pan on medium heat, add vegetable oil, wait until heated.
4. Add the egg and fry until the egg is cooked fluffy yellow. Top on steamed jasmine rice and enjoy!
The Galeries, together.