PUSHING THAI FOOD ABROAD
Pitaya Phanphensophon almost grew up in a restaurant. His father, a Chinese native from Canton, or Guangzhou, opened the first COCA restaurant in Bangkok 57 years ago and when Pitaya had the opportunity to take over an old wooden house in Suriwongse, his first thought was to make the space into a restaurant. The only question was, what king?
After months of deliberations, Pitaya and his wife finally settled on Thai food, recognizing the potential of the then relatively unknown cuisine. Of Chinese origin, neither Pitaya nor his wife or parents felt they knew enough about Thai food to put together then menu so heasked his nanny, a Thai native, to teach him about the intricacies of local cuisine. The rest, they say, is history
Listen to the full interview with Pitaya Phanphensophon please click on the link below:
Mango Tree worldwide celebrates three years in the Philippines with plans to double outlets by 2015
MANILA, PHILIPPINES: Thai restaurant operator, cultural ambassador and culinary innovator Mango Tree Worldwide has announced an ambitious programme of expansion that will double its branded restaurants and cafes in the Philippines to a total of 12 by 2015.
The move is fuelled by a major investment by the global Thai restaurant chain operator in the country with Mango Tree Worldwide extremely bullish on the long-term potential of the Philippines as it embraces healthy and stylish Thai food.
Its restaurants in Manila currently cover the flagship Mango Tree Restaurant outlet in Bonifacio Global City (BGC), two Mango Tree Bistrobars, one in Trinoma, Quezon City and the other in Green Belt 5 in Makati and one Mango Tree Café in SM South Mall Food Street in Las Pinas City.
Soon to open will be another outlet by Mango Tree holding company, Exquisine Co., Ltd, through the popular COCA brand, with a COCA Café in SM Jazz Makati to add to the existing COCA Restaurant in the upscale mall called SM Aura in Taguig City.
By late January 2014, the global restaurant group will have a total of six outlets in Manila establishing itself as the largest Thai restaurant operation in the Philippines a number that is set to soar in the years to come.
Mango Tree Worldwide’s Bangkok-based CEO and celebrity chef Pitaya Phonphansophon said he was delighted to see the Mango Tree, Mango Tree Bistrobars and Mango Tree Cafe brands going from strength to strength in the Philippines, as Mango Tree Worldwide prepares to make its first foray into the US market with a restaurant in Washington DC next year, while the group also eyes locations in China.
Chef Pitaya, whose father founded the company 57 years ago in Bangkok, was in Manila to celebrate Mango Tree’s success in the Philippines, and to announce finely calibrated plans for growth. Chef Pitaya said the group’s achievement had been no accident. “Our success is down to choosing great partners, having a unique concept, a sound strategy and above all, a team which believes in itself.”
He said in the Philippines that great partner was Eric Teng, an owner-partner who is half-Thai on his mother’s side, hailing back to the southern province of Hat Yai. The unique concept was taking Thai food in a sexy, modern, innovative and creative direction, with healthy, high quality ingredients and respect for tradition as well as plans for an extensive local organic farming operation to support the brand’s growth.
Chef Pitaya, a regular fixture in international magazine columns and a keen amateur blogger, who performed a live cooking demonstration at the anniversary event, added that Thai food was the fastest growing Asian cuisine, winning hearts and minds and securing loyal fans worldwide.
Trevor MacKenzie, the group’s Managing Director and the driving force behind Mango Tree’s success in franchising its brands worldwide, said the Philippines had played a major role in the group’s growth.
“We now have over 70 restaurants in 15 countries worldwide and look forward to continuing to grow in the Philippines in locations outside of Manila and further extend our leadership position in a very important market.”
Mr. MacKenzie said that among the twists on Thai culinary tradition are dishes such as Tom Yam Scampi, grill-your-own satays with a tabletop open flame grill, Pomelo Salad with fresh prawns and grated coconut, and char-grilled rib eye with Isan chili dipping sauce.
Mr. MacKenzie and Chef Pitaya are both passionate believers and advocate for their brands, and their ambition is as sweeping as his vision: taking the Mango Tree brand, and the magic of Thai cooking, to a growing global audience, eventually planting a Mango Tree in every major international city worldwide.
What started as a small scale restaurant in Bangkok’s historic Silom area has become a world spanning venture for founder and CEO of Mango Tree Worldwide, Pitaya Phanphensophon.
Pitaya Phanphensophon almost grew up in a restaurant. His father, a Chinese native from Canton, or Guangzhou, opened the first COCA restaurant in Bangkok 57 years ago and when Pitaya had the opportunity to take over an old wooden house in Suriwongse, his first thought was to make the space into a restaurant. The only question was, what kind?
After months of deliberations, Pitaya and his wife finally settled on Thai food, recognising the potential of the then relatively unknown cuisine. Of Chinese origin, neither Pitaya nor his wife or parents felt they knew enough about Thai food to put together the menu so he asked his nanny, a Thai native, to teach him about the intricacies of local cuisine. The rest, they say, is history.
Listen to the full interview with Pitaya Phanphensophon here.