Meet the Chef: Loy Bouaphayphengprachan

Loy Bouaphaypheng-prachan wants to present Thai cuisine in the traditional style.

Photo by Michael Donahue // Buy this photo

Loy Bouaphaypheng-prachan wants to present Thai cuisine in the traditional style.

Title: Part owner and executive chef of Thai Bistro and Thai Bistro & Sushi Bar.

Age: 33.

Home: Laos.

Who or what was your first cooking influence? My mom. She's the one who inspired me to cook ... food from my culture.

What was the first thing you ever cooked or baked? Helping my mom cook eggs. Our Asian version of an omelet -- egg, fish sauce, sugar, green onions. I was about 8.

What made you decide to become a chef, and when was that? After high school, I was that kid that never really knew what I wanted to do as far as career-wise. ... Summertime I always worked at restaurants. ... College didn't work out for me, working at a company didn't work out, so I went back to the restaurant business. It just hit me that I was destined to be in the restaurant business and cook.

What was your first food-related job? Suma Japan at the food court at Oak Court Mall. I was about 16. It was a summer job.

What was something important that a fellow chef taught you? A lot of people eat with their eyes, not with their mouth. ... It's like a balance of presentation and taste.

What is the Loy Bouaphayphengprachan style? Combining Laos flavor with Thai cuisine. The traditional style more than the American style. I want the customer to experience the food and flavor of our culture.

What do you cook or bake at home, if anything? I'm a very family-oriented person, so when I'm at home, I like to cook food for my family. I like to make a lot of soup dishes.

What's your favorite food? Larb. Very traditional dish. ... (You can use) chicken, beef, pork, fish. Blending different flavors like lime, cilantro, mint, dried chili and roasted rice.

What's your least favorite food? I don't think there's any food that I hate.

Thai Bistro is at 1250 North Germantown Pkwy. No. 105, (901) 755-6955; and Thai Bistro & Sushi Bar is at 149 Madison, (901) 343-0303.

Michael Donahue: (901) 529-2797; donahue@commercialappeal.com

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