Our next Chef of the Week is one of the most humble and successful in the city.
Allow us to introduce you to Nuit Regular.
If you eat Thai food in the city, you’ve certainly eaten at one of Chef Nuit Regular’s restaurants. She is the Executive Chef and co-owner at Pai, Sabai Sabai, Sukhothai and the recently launched Kiin, all of which she runs with her partner in crime, husband Jeff Regular. And unlike many successful city chefs, Regular has no professional training. Rather, she’s won over Torontonians with her home cooking, a skill she learnt working alongside her mother and aunts in Thailand.
Her dishes are made with love and full of flavour, and have captivated diners across the city, as well as celebrities like the Raptors’ Alvin Williams, actress Shay Mitchell, Toronto Maple Leafs’ William Nylander, and renowned chef Christine Cushing, to name a few. The pint-sized chef is also a Thai Select ambassador, a title only awarded to the most authentic Thai chefs across the nation.
We had the opportunity to talk to Chef Nuit Regular about how she got her start in Toronto, the dish you must try at the newly launched Kiin, and the one funny thing she’d change about being a chef.
How did you get your start in the industry?
It’s really a love story that started on the back of an elephant. Jeff was backpacking through Thailand and I was working as a nurse. We ended up on an elephant ride together and fell in love. We opened our first little place in northern Thailand, the Shack, and then decided to move back to Jeff’s home country.
How would you describe your culinary style?
I like to show people the traditional ingredients and dishes from Thailand that they might not have seen before. Thai food is distinct on its own, but there are also a number of amazing influences from all the countries that border Thailand, and the Thai people have a unique take that not everyone outside of Thailand gets to see.
What’s your favourite dish on your current menu and why?
Kiin’s Yum Tua Plu, which translates to wing bean salad. It’s a really savoury Thai-style salad that uses wing beans, which is a type of long bean with four frilly edges. The dish has a lot of texture and is healthy!
What do you think is the biggest misconception about the restaurant industry?
That all you need is good food and a good location. Running a restaurant is much more than that, it’s about building a team and putting in the hours to bring people the best experience you can.
What’s your go-to meal to cook at home?
A noodle soup with wild ginger, vermicelli, and sardines. It’s a family remedy for when I’m home sick.
What are three restaurants our readers need to try before they die?
Grey Gardens, Maison Publique, and Pai.
What’s one tip our readers should know to up their own game in their kitchens?
Mortar and pestles are better than blending in machines because of the way it brings out the fragrance and oils in ingredients.
If there was one thing in the restaurant industry you could change, what would it be?
That you couldn’t gain weight from tasting all your own dishes.
How do you think Toronto (and/or Canada’s) culinary scene will evolve in the future?
We’re going to see more regionality of different cuisines.
To keep up with Chef Nuit Regular, follow her on Instagram at @NuitRegular.
Are there any other chefs you’d like to see profiled? Let us know in the comment section or tweet us at @ViewtheVibe.