Kitchen Inquisition: Day Longsomboon

Thailand-born Day Longsomboon talks family, food, and fun in Miami.

By Lourdes Reigosa
|  Tuesday, Sep 20, 2011  |  Updated 5:30 PM EDT
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Kitchen Inquisition: Day Longsomboon

Many would agree the best recipes are the ones that come from within the home.  For Day Longsomboon, Head Chef of Tamarind Thai restaurant, the old adage, “home is where the heart is,” applies to food too. She came to the U.S. years ago and brought with her the age-old family recipes passed down to her by her grandmother and close relatives. Her family recipes have been preserved and shared with countless patrons at the Miami Beach restaurant. She also has grasshoppers of her own-- she teaches cooking classes at the restaurant as well (teach us, oh wise one). You can’t get more authentic-- or delicious-- than that.

I'm sure all the dishes on each of your menus are like your children, but if you had to choose only one dish from the menu, which ones are you most proud of?
Our grouper steak with fresh herbal sauce is definitely our most popular.
 

Most popular item on the menu?
Pad Thai. It’s a traditional, classic recipe.
 

How would you describe Miami's dining scene?  In one word: fun. It’s a diverse world of cuisines and a melting pot of culture.
 

The secret to cooking perfect pasta?  Thais have a variety of noodles that are similar to pasta. Depending on the type of noodles, I would say soaking time, boiling water and timing are the keys to al dente.  

At what point did you realize you were destined to be a chef?  When I moved to the U.S. 28 years ago and discovered the melting pot (no pun intended) in terms of food in Miami. It inspired me. Miami screams diversity to me.

 

The 5 ingredients every kitchen should have? Canola oil, spices, sea salt, fresh herbs and your favorite fresh vegetables.  

The 5 utensils every kitchen should have? Knives, a ladle, stone mortar with pestle, a pot and a pan.
 

First dish you learned to make? Chicken soup. Simple, yet the possibilities are endless with it.
 

Favorite dish to make at home?   It’s a three-way tie between green salads, Thai grilled chicken and osso buco.

 

What's your favorite food to eat? In other words, what could you live off of for the rest of your life if you had to? Green papaya salad, chopped chicken with chili and Thai basil.

 

Tell us a little more about your restaurant. Tamarind Thai Restaurant serves traditional Thai food passed down from family recipes. All of our dishes are unique, fresh and perfect for our health conscious customers. The restaurant's ambiance is simple, relaxed and eclectic. All of our customers are treated as if they are our extended family.  

 

If there’s one tip or piece of advice you could give to all aspiring chefs out there, what would it be? Be true to oneself. Passion for food is a must to be a great chef. Explore the world of cuisines and find what you really love-- the rest will fall in place.   

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