Nothing goes together better than fine French pastries and Thai pork bellies with lime, herbs, and chili peppers.
To many, the cross-continental pairing might feel a little bit unusual, if on the delicious side. But the seeming-incongruity was at the heart of Thursday's eagerly anticipated lunchtime / mashup—the latest in the weekly collaborations between the Patisserie's John Kraus and Gai Gai's Kris Petcharawises.
"The fact that I’m on the phone discussing it with you is a little strange to me because, to me, it’s the same as if we were going to make a grilled cheese tomorrow," Kraus said. "It’s just Kris coming in to make some cool dishes."
For Thursday's lunch, Petcharawises will serve up four dishes:
- Chicken Coconut Soup made with Callister Farms chicken,
- Braised Beef and Pumpkin Curry with meat from Thousand Hills Cattle Company,
- Grilled Pork Belly Nam Tok (a dish similar to the laab "meat salad") with meat from Fischer Farms,
- Hot and cold sweet Thai Tea.
After a chance encounter at the Kingfield Farmers Market, Petcharawises and Kraus were inspire to turn Patisserie's kitchen over to Petcharawises for Thursday's lunch. Kraus said he was eating a Gai Gai Thai dish for lunch when the idea struck him.
"I just went up to (Petcharawises) and said 'Why don’t you just come here and make it," he said. "It was kind of a spur-of-the-moment thing and then we thought through it."
Petcharawises said he immediately cottoned on to the idea.
"Patisserie 46 does great stuff; we’re huge fans," he said. "Plus, it’s so expensive to open a restaurant these days."
Petcharawises said he and his business were following a decidedly non-traditional route to success.
"I think there’s no real new blueprint now, it's a whole new paradigm," he said, citing farmers markets, pop-up restaurants, and a wide variety of other new ways to find success in the food business. "It’s almost like what the Internet did with the music business model. It’s a way to go bigger, faster."
Kraus said he likes the fun inherent in this new approach.
"If an Italian chef wants to be a guest chef for a day, why not?" he said. "Part of me, as much as I say that (having a strong brand identity based on his cafe's food) is true, part of me likes to see other people succeed or being the catalyst for them taking a step forward. Maybe someone that comes in ends up with a restaurant or a (food) truck?"