Four Seasons Bangkok WGF10: David Kinch

Chef David Kinch's Tomato soup, barley cooked, with coriancer ice, Four Seasons Bangkok's World Gourmet FestivalChef David Kinch's Tomato soup, barely cooked, with coriander ice

I was particularly excited about meeting David Kinch and trying his food. Chef friends here in Bangkok have long been relaying the buzz of his California restaurant, Manresa, and I've long been obsessed with the Spanish flavours and ingredients that partially inspire much of his food. Not to mention the fact that, a few years back, I spent a fun afternoon in Bangkok with David's longtime Thai partner, Pim, of Chez Pim fame.

Before attending Kinch's cooking demonstration, I spent a few minutes talking with the chef, and an excerpt from our conversation is below:

Chef David Kinch giving a cooking demonstration at the Four Seasons Bangkok's World Gourmet Festival Chef David Kinch giving a cooking demonstration at the Four Seasons Bangkok's World Gourmet Festival

AB: In looking at what you do at Manresa, it appears that there's a huge emphasis on locality. With this in mind, is it even possible to recreate what you do at Manresa here in Bangkok? DK: Absolutely not. At Manresa we strive for a certain sense of place, which can't be done anywhere else. To take this out of the equation is a giant curve ball for us. We have to come to these events with more ambiguous menus. For instance, I'll say that I want to use fish in a dish rather than have a specific kind of fish in mind.

AB: So you haven't brought any ingredients over from your garden or Love Apple Farm [the California farm that supplies the vast majority of Manresa's produce]? DK: No, it's just not practical.

AB: Will you incorporating any Thai flavours or ingredients while here? DK: No, we're simply trying to provide a snapshot of our restaurant. I definitely wouldn't feel comfortable making Thai food here.

AB: Your influences appear to come largely from Spain and Japan, two disparate food cultures. Are there any similarities between these two cuisines? DK: I'd say that my influences are more generally European, but I'm still very much a Francophile at heart. Respect for the product and tradition are paramount in both places.

AB: Many of the chefs here, particularly the Australians, have published books. Do you have any book plans? DK: I'm working on a book about a couple of meals I cooked for a friend. He's a jazz musician and has composed songs for the meals, which will be sold as a CD along with the book.

AB: As a restaurateur, how do you feel about amateur media, such as blogs? DK: Everyone is allowed their opinion. But there are a lot of people blogging irresponsibly. People don't always get the facts right and sometimes misidentify dishes or ingredients. And there are a lot of bad photos. The photos people take are of our products, and when they look bad, this makes our product look bad.

For today's cooking demonstration, Kinch demonstrated three recipes: Slow roasted rack of lamb with exotic spices:

Chef David Kinch's Rack of lamb with exotic spices, Four Seasons Bangkok's World Gourmet Festival Chef David Kinch's Rack of lamb with exotic spices

Tomato soup, barely cooked, with coriander ice (pictured at the top of this post), and a combination of desserts he calls A taste of New Orleans:

Chef David Kinch's A taste of New Orleans, Four Seasons Bangkok's World Gourmet Festival Chef David Kinch's A taste of New Orleans

Both dishes pictured above will be featured in Kinch's dinner at the Four Seasons Bangkok on October 10th and 11th, but I thought I'd share his recipe for the tomato soup, as it's probably the easiest to recreate.

Tomato  soup, barely cooked, with coriander ice

Kinch explained that the most important element in making this dish is to slowly bring bring the tomato soup to a maximum temperature of 150F. This relatively low heat allows some of the tomatoes to become fully cooked while allowing other parts to remain essentially raw, resulting in a soup that has the best elements of both the cooked and raw fruit. Kinch also uses a hand-operated food mill to process the soup, which results in it having a slightly coarse texture. If you don't have access to a food mill, Kinch suggests using a Cuisinart or Robot Coup, but not a conventional blender, as this will result in a texture that is too fine.

For the coriander ice: 1 litre chilled water 120 g sugar 3 bunches coriander/cilantro 1 bunch mint

For the tomato soup: 4 lb ripe tomatoes, roughly chopped 1/2 cup olive oil 2 oz red wine vinegar (sherry or balsamic can also be used) 12 basil leaves 2-3 cloves of garlic, finely chopped salt pinch of sugar

For the coriander ice: Make syrup with 200 ml of the water and chill. Chill the remaining water. Blend all ingredients in a blender and strain. Freeze and grate using a fork or a food mill.

For the tomato soup: Combine ingredients in a large saucepan and without using a lid, bring slowly to 150F. This should take approximately 20 to 25 minutes. Process in a food mill. Strain and refrigerate.

Serve chilled, garnished with coriander ice, a basil leaf, and if desired, pickled vegetables or fruits.

David will be hosting dinner at the Four Season Bangkok on October 10 & 11. Many of the events are already sold out, so if you’re in Bangkok and interested, act fast. Call the Four Seasons at +66 (0) 2 126 8866, or email the hotel at