Tommy Tang at the Western Foodservice & Hospitality Expo Review - Shows Tastes of Spectaular Foods & Fruits of Thailand

Tommy Discusses Goods of Thailand

Media Covers Tommy's Show

Live from the floor of the at the Western Foodservice & Hospitality Expo of 2008 we were entertained by World Renowned Chef Tommy Tang, known as “the Godfather of Modern Thai Cuisine.”   He guided attendees through this Culinary and Cultural tour of amazing Thailand.  In the Thai Cooking Theatre he cooked up a delicious Salmon dish on Thai Hom Malie Rice infused with chili oil, fish sauce and topped with crispy thinly sliced onions.  A yummy side dish with noodles had in it sweet pieces of fresh mangosteen.

Delicious Salmon Dish Prepared by Tommy

Giving Samples of Exotic Thai Fruits

In association with the Thailand Department of Export Promotion (DEP) and the Royal Government of Thailand an extensive array of products including beverages, fruits, rice, cookware and tabletopware filled the Thai Pavilion. 

Beautiful Display of Fruits

Offering a Cup of Yummy Coconut Milk

Products of Thailand

Thai Hom Malie Rice is the world’s only naturally fragrant rice indigenous to Thailand, and was the star of the show.  *The 100% natural unaltered product is always freshly milled just before packing.  The rare rains that flood the plains enrich the soil making it the best in the world for a “once-a-year” crop.  

Explaining Varieties of Thai Rice

Sticky Rice with a mango pudding was also showcased in the Thai Pavilion and was unbelievably delicious.  Along with that many other products of Thailand were prepared for us to try including a scrumptious shrimp dish, fresh lychees, longans, coconut juice, tamarind, rambutan and other Thai fruits.

Inviting Me Into His Kitchen

The Thai Pavilion also sponsored on-going cooking demos with some of LA’s most exciting chefs on Saturday and Sunday including as well as Tommy Tang, Nick Christiansen, McCormick & Schmick’s Seafood Restaurant, Irivne, Mikel Kim (formerly of the French Laundry and Chez Panise) and Sal Marino of Il Grano.  Katsuya Uechi, creator of the immensely successful KATSUYA restaurants, and Executive Director of the esteemed Sushi Institute of America in Los Angeles, did a sushi demonstration on Sunday.

Samples of Thai Shrimp or Rice

Adding Just the Perfect Amount of Spice

Tommy was the first born in a family of twelve children.  When he was eleven he left school to help support his family.  He worked in many odd jobs including working as a floor-fan cleaner, switchboard operator, welder, construction worker, bellman, busboy, wheelbarrow maker, boxer, auto mechanic, tennis teacher and drummer as well as helping his father in their restaurant in the Grand Central.

Tommy Tells us About Thailand

During the Vietnam War while working at the Windsor hotel and the Narai Hotel he was around a lot of Americans whose sense of ambition appealed to his entrepreneurial side.

Interviewing the Chefs

He moved to the US and started out as a manager of rock bands, but eventually it was his job as manager of a little known Hollywood Thai restaurant that brought out his true calling.

Sharing Stories


Chefs Visiting with Restauranteurs

It was Tommy Tang who first put Thai Food on the map in Los Angeles with his restaurant Tommy Tang’s, a favorite celebrity hang out for years.  Cher, Jackson Browne, Earth Wind and Fire, Queen, Orson Wells and many of the Hollywood Elite not only graced his door, but also became long time regulars.  Much to the chagrin of his Hollywood restaurant clique, Tommy Tang closed the doors to his restaurant and moved on to join the world of Television Celebrity Chef Superstardom in his role as travel guide, and curator of culinary and cultural tours on the sixth season of his PBS television show “Let’s Get Cooking.”   
Tang is also the author of two cookbooks.
To read my article on the Western Foodservice and Hospitality Expo click here.

All Photos © Judith Orr Photography

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