Thai chef Saiphin Moore is the founder of Rosa’s Thai Cafe, found in seven locations in London.
Who are you?
My name is Saiphin Moore, but many people also know me as Rosa (from our Rosa’s Thai Cafe). I have been a chef ever since I was 14, living in Petchabun, Thailand. I’m also a restaurateur. My first business was a noodle stall in our village, followed by a three-seater restaurant in Hong Kong in the 80s. We moved to London in 2006 to start a Sunday stall in Brick Lane, whilst running a catering business out of my kitchen. We opened our first Rosa’s Thai Cafe in 2008, and the rest is history!
Where do you call ‘home’ and what do you like about it?
Thailand, Hong Kong and England are all home to me. After all, I’ve spent more than 15-20 years in each country. They are all so different, with new and exciting food scenes.
Describe your favourite place to work and the view out the window.
In the kitchen at Rosa’s, of course! The kitchen is in the basement, so there are no windows, but I don’t mind it since I’m so focused on cooking the food for my customers.
Where do you find inspiration?
Petchabun, Thailand is the place I go back to every year. It’s where I cook with my extended family: aunties and grandmas from all over the village come to cook together. It’s such a bonding experience and it’s where I find inspiration.
What is your favourite way to get around and why?
Uber! I’m constantly on the move around London, often with a trolley full of fresh produce with me.
Describe a trend in your industry, or in society more generally, that fascinates you.
The experimental Thai food scene is something that’s been fascinating me for the past few years. So many new restaurants are popping up around London, with dishes I’ve never heard of before! I think it’s almost my duty to protect the authenticity of Thai food amidst this fast-moving change.
Name your favourite spot to hang out when you’re off work.
I’m always going on about St. Katharine Docks. It’s one of the most peaceful places in Central London that’s full of vibrant cafés and restaurant. It’s not the most trendy area, but restaurants like Il Bordello and the White Mulberries café provide such amazing food and service, I feel refreshed and inspired every time I visit them.
Name and describe your favourite city.
Hong Kong will always be my favourite. This is where I learned and refined most of my cooking skills. It’s vibrant and constantly on-the-move. Most importantly, you can find food on every corner of Hong Kong and Kowloon islands, 24 hours a day!
Name one object you cannot live without and tell us why.
My pestle and mortar! I wouldn’t be myself if I couldn’t make papaya salads and curry pastes.
What’s the most exciting thing you’ve got coming up this week?
The most exciting thing for us is that I’m hosting a dinner for my fans! Last month we ran a competition for our customers to submit the best question to my #AskSaiphin blog. I will be cooking a meal for them and I really cannot wait!
You have exactly one minute to share your vision with our readers about anything you want.
Most customers don’t know this, but I still work in the kitchen at Rosa’s Thai Cafe. So what you’re eating when you come into one of our restaurants might have been cooked by me! Every day is a privilege to be able to share my passion for authentic Thai cuisine with my customers. Rosa’s is a culmination of everything I know about Thai food, and each dish reminds me of a specific memory or experience. I use my family recipes to create our menu, using ingredients sourced closer to the UK. This is never the easy, but I love a good challenge. If you see me around one of the cafes, don’t forget to say hi!
I’m also really excited to be working on a new project called Laos Cafe. We ran a pop-up earlier this year, cooking my family’s traditional Laotian dishes over charcoal. People really loved it, so we’ve decided to turn it into a permanent restaurant!
Website: Rosa’s Thai Cafe
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