Mango Tree partners with celebrity Chef Richard Sandoval

October 8, 2014


BANGKOK, THAILAND – Leading Thai restaurant brand, culinary innovator and cultural ambassador Mango Tree Worldwide has put down roots in the United States ahead of the launch of its first restaurant stateside in October, the opening move in a game-changing partnership with celebrity chef Richard Sandoval.


Chef Richard-Sandoval, Mango Tree partner

With a ‘second wave’ of desire for Thai food surging around the globe, Mango Tree’s strategic partnership with the celebrated US-based, Mexican-born Chef Sandoval bears its first fruit with the launch of a signature Mango Tree restaurant in the US capital’s newest hotspot and culinary nexus.

Mango Tree D.C is located in the cutting-edge new lifestyle complex CityCenterDC, in the heart of the prestigious Downtown precinct where an unmatched mix of shops and restaurants, apartments, condominiums, office buildings and common area blend for a vibrant urban experience. The new Mango Tree’s authentic Thai cuisine with a creative twist and a fashionable edge joins the likes of celebrity chef Daniel Boulud’s DBGB – an American tavern meets French brasserie concept.

The US launch is part of a global expansion programme aimed at growing the group’s branded restaurants, bistros and cafes to over 100 worldwide by 2015 and positioning the brand to ride a growing global surge in the popularity of Thai food.

Mango Tree founder and CEO Pitaya Phanphensophon said the partnership with Mr. Sandoval had been the result of an accidental meeting, a long conversation and the realization that they were culinary soul mates with very similar philosophies and passions for their respective cuisines.

“What Richard has done for Mexican and Latino food, we have done for Thai cuisine in terms of creating brands and continuing to push the envelope with innovation,” Pitaya said.

“His vision is very similar to ours when it comes to the restaurant business and he is very well known as both a chef and a restaurateur in the US,” Pitaya said, adding: “These are exciting times … I don’t know what happens when you mix tom yum kung and tequila, but it’s bound to get hot, spicy and a little crazy.”

In addition to the growth of the Mango Tree stable of brands, Pitaya said discussions were advanced to launch Mr. Sandoval’s El Centro Mexican restaurants in Asia within two years.

Pitaya, whose coffee table book is entitled ‘I’m Not a Chef, But I Sure Can Cook‘, is a culinary autodidact and born restaurateur who took over the family restaurant business when his father, founder of the COCA chain of hotpot and Thai-Chinese restaurants, passed away. He founded the first Mango Tree in Bangkok’s vibrant Silom district in 1994 and today oversees an empire of more than 70 Mango Tree, Mango Tree Bistrobar and Mango Tree Cafe outlets.


Richard Sandoval, with over 30 Latin restaurants across the United States, Europe, Mexico and the Middle East, is a global pioneer in Contemporary Latin Cuisine. He is internationally acclaimed for his innovative combination of Latin ingredients and modern culinary techniques. Nine of his restaurants have been voted best in their category. Sandoval is also credited for introducing Latin cuisine to Dubai, Qatar, and Serbia.
“After meeting Mr. Phanphensophon, it became clear that we were both passionate about the restaurant industry and were eager to find a way to work together. I am thrilled to be part of Mango Tree’s expansion into the United States. The restaurant will be a fantastic addition to Washington, DC’s culinary scene,” Mr. Sandoval said.



Mr. Sandoval has also built the largest collections of tequilas in North America and the Middle East and aspires to educate diners on their quality and diversity. When not cooking, Sandoval is passionate about training the chefs of the future and is on the Board of Trustees at his alma mater, the Culinary Institute of America.

K.Trevor at MT on the river

Mango Tree Managing Director Trevor MacKenzie, the architect of the group’s steep growth curve, said partnering Mr. Sandoval was ‘a perfect marriage’ of unified, progressive mindsets that would push boundaries and set standards for years to come.

“After meeting his team we got really excited because they are serious about the restaurant business and he has a team that is as passionate about the business as we are,” Mr. MacKenzie said. “Many landlords seek him out to open in their locations, so that is a big plus. His team is bringing in the late night and bar component of the restaurant business that will elevate Mango Tree across the board.”

Mango Tree plans to double its existing annual turnover to reach USD100 million within two years as it sets its sights on expanding throughout Asia Pacific, Middle East and the US. The group is also actively seeking locations in China, India (it opened its first Mango Tree Bistrobar in Bangalore last month), Australia, Scandinavia, Italy and Spain.

The group delivers a unique and cutting-edge concept that has given a contemporary twist to authentic Thai food. It offers added value to the dining experience beyond just good food via ambience, décor, presentation, entertainment and tabletop architecture.

The Mango Tree group is a dynamic, innovative and fast-growing company that has a vision to bring authentic Thai cuisine with a creative twist to the world, and to plant a Mango Tree in every major world city. At the vanguard of the global Thai food explosion, the Mango Tree group comprises the Mango Tree, Mango Tree Bistro and Mango Tree Cafe brands, as well as Coca, the contemporary steamboat suki concept. The group’s heritage dates back to 1957, when Khun Srichai Phanphensophon opened the first Coca restaurant in Surawong, launching the suki trend in Thailand. The pioneering spirit continued when the group’s CEO and celebrity chef Pitaya Phanphensophon, Srichai’s son, opened the first Mango Tree restaurant in the heart of Silom in 1994. Today, the group operates more than 70 restaurants and cafes in 15 countries in Asia, the Middle East, and the USA. Part cultural ambassador and part culinary innovator, Mango Tree has charted a course to become the premier global Thai cuisine brand, delivering quality Thai cuisine, stylish design, and intuitive service that always exceeds diners’ expectations.

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