Chef Francis Thuan has been in the spotlight the past few years for his amazing work at Quince and now Esta which he co-founded and is head chef at. In recent years, this young and incredibly talented chef has scaled new heights and milestones in his life. We talked to him about his experience climbing and creating a pop-up diner on Mount Everest with his chef friends, what color inspires him the most and he shares with us the recipe to one of Esta’s best selling dishes which is reminiscent of Mark Your Wall’s Color Palette #01 (Wall #204).
Hi Chef! You previously took the opportunity to climb Mount Everest. What was that like?
It was in 2017 in Bangkok when I joined a group of nomad chefs called One Star House Party. We decided to do a pop-up for 15 people at Everest Base Camp, 5364 meters above sea level. At first I thought it was crazy and I myself had no previous experience nor preparation because the flight to Nepal was coming up, but hell yeah let’s go do it.
We used all local ingredients to prepare for the meal. We cared for the food and let them ferment in the backpack while we were trekking for 10 days. It was like walking for 10 days inside the refrigerator. At the Base Camp, we brought up the table, chair, gas, burner… with help from the porter. The trip was hard but the meal was worth it. It is hard to describe the feeling when you dine in freezing cold weather with a phenomenal view.
Like I said I had no experience before, but when I was young I thought why not do the things I hadn’t done. That was the spirit, the thing that really helped me keep pace with the group and get to the result.
Tell us which color inspires you the most.
Red is my color. It is the color of luck, also the color of the fire. Born in 1987, I’m a Fire in the fengshui five elements. I love cooking, especially in the fire kitchen where smoke and heat becomes my passion. Another thing the fire teaches me is a perspective in life. The burning stages of a fire symbolizes a life, in which you shall live with your utmost passion while you’re in your red-hot years to bring goodness to others around you. That is how I see the color Red.
Thank you for collaborating on this color palette project with us. Could you tell us more about why you chose this dish to present?
The color palette reminds me of the natural color of an abalone shell and the recipe I presented is one of the best selling dishes at Esta. It is made using the Yakitori technique but with seafood which gives it a new texture and flavor.
Thank you Chef! You could try recreating this best selling dish by Esta at home by following the recipe below:
Follow his adventures on Instagram!
YAKIAWABI, ABALONE SUKIYAKI & JAPANESE MUSTARD
4 Abalones, cleaned, wrapped in Kombu, ash-cooked 4 hours 80*C
200g Abalone Sukiyaki
12g Japanese mustard 50g XO Sauce
20g Cashew Nut, roasted & chopped
20g Chives Blossom, finely chopped
At Esta, we slowly cook the abalone wrapped in kombu and put into hot ash at 80*C in 4 hours or you can cook slowly by sous vide.
Abalone Sukiyaki Ingredients:
80g Soy Sauce
4 Abalone Liver
40g Beef Fat, roasted
Bring all ingredients in a saucepan to a boil. Turn down the heat and simmer for 5 minutes.
Grill abalone on hot ember
Dip in the sukiyaki, back to the hot ember and do it again.
Topping with mustard, XO sauce, cashew nut and chives blossom.
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