Wittaya Tongsodsaeng -- Toshi’s man of the house.
‘Food, like paintings, dances, or music, identifies a culture. It takes your taste buds into a journey of busting flavors and scents, which ties up with basic elements of that culture.’
With 25 years of experience, Chef Wittaya Tongsodsaeng, who hails from Pattaya, Thailand’s second most-visited city, has come a long way sharing his passion for the Asian fusion cuisine.
Chef Wittaya, Asian chef at Grand Millennium Dubai Hotel’s popular Toshi Restaurant, enjoys experimenting with new herbs, spices and food elements to make special dishes even more delicious and filled with flavor; making it a point, moreover, to speak the local tongue of the country he is in to better communicate with his guests and learn more about what they want for their meals.
Starting his career at 18 and having been in places—Brunei, Poland and Switzerland among them— Chef Wittaya says food, like paintings, dances, or music, identifies a culture.
“It takes your taste buds into a journey of busting flavors and scents, which ties up with basic elements of that culture,” he says.
Thai culture, Chef Wittaya cites, is a very rich one in many aspects and among the essentials is the culinary experience.
“We are big believers of invigorating tastes, our culture is known for the fresh vegetables and fruits, which we incorporate nicely into our dishes, to nutrient elements, colors and accent. Thai cuisine is massive and differs widely from south to east which adds more to the culture and its food,” he says.
Chef Wittaya says every season offers its natural ingredients which can work as the core element of many dishes from which he derives his specials and signatures that he offers his guests.
Thai cuisine is known for its spiciness and zest. Chef Wittaya says that while spice awakes the senses, it should be used in moderation. “Else,” he cautions, “it will take away the original taste of the dish itself.”
The chef says it is very important for a chef to know the right amount of every ingredient that needs to be added to any dish, including spices. “Asian food goes a long way back in time; a good chef should always know the original recipe and his additions or creation should add more to it rather than take away from the dish and its original flavor,” he says.
Chef Wittaya has been with Toshi, Grand Millennium Dubai Hotel’s signature restaurant, since its pre-opening days five years ago. The popular Dubai culinary spot is a concept of five different Asian cuisines under one roof, offering Thai, Chinese, Japanese, Indonesian and Malaysian cuisines in a place that has an awesome panoramic view of the city and its horizons.
“Apart from the fact that we enjoy a prime location on the 18th floor with stunning views of the city during the day and in evenings, we also offer an array of a la carte dishes that are unique to Toshi.
“Moreover, we have the theme nights that keep on gaining an enormous level of popularity year after the other; plus, we offer a great value for money. One of the big reasons behind our success is also our high level of service and the smile that comes with the warmth and nature of Asian hospitality. Toshi is truly an award-winning restaurant and has been credited by several parties for its distinguished cuisine,” Chef Wittaya says.
According to him, Toshi has a large number of return guests who come regularly to experience different theme nights or additional items on the a la carte menu.
“We truly care about our guests and we know our regulars very well, we strive to offer them a personalized service in addition to continually maintaining and improving the quality and variety of the dishes served at Toshi. We look at it as long term relationship where we really to invest in quality, time and service to ensure we exceed the guests expectations,” Chef Wittaya says.