Popular Thai restaurant Bo.lan in Bangkok was founded by the two chefs Duangporn Songvisava and Dylan Jones. Known for its delicious and authentic Thai food, Bo.lan also works closely with local farmers, advocates biodiversity and follows the ambitious goal of achieving a zero carbon restaurant by 2018.
Bo and Dylan will be participating in this year’s Ubud Food Festival, a 3-day culinary adventure showcasing Indonesia’s – and Southeast Asia’s – diverse cuisine. Already in its third edition, the festival will be held from May 12 to 14 with the theme “Every flavor is a story”.
NOW! Jakarta had a quick chat with Bo and Dylan about their philosophy on food and their expectations of Bali and the festival.
How did you meet, and what made you decide to open a restaurant together?
Dylan: We met in London where we were working together in the kitchen of [Thai restaurant] Nahm. Actually, Bo was ready to go back home to Bangkok and open her own business. I had nothing better to do so I followed her.
How do the two of you complement each other, in terms of personality and skills?
Bo: Bo is the brain, Dylan is the brawn.
Tell us more about the concept of Bo.lan restaurant.
Bo: Bo.lan is essentially Thai, which means that everything – as much as possible – comes from Thailand. The flavours are for Thai people. We keep everything Thai: we serve the food family style rather than in courses, we use fork and spoon rather than knife and fork, and the atmosphere, the music and the props are very much inspired by everyday life in Thailand.
Dylan: To serve Thai food as we believe it should be served, to support local food systems and safeguard Thai food heritage.
What is your philosophy on food?
Bo: We support the biodiversity of food, meaning we are trying very hard to find different local varieties of produce to showcase in our dishes, which at the same time makes us avoid using mono-agricultural produce. We safeguard food heritage by using stone pestle and mortar to make our curry paste, we freshly squeeze the coconut cream and when we grill something, we only use a charcoal grill.
We try to avoid industrial products. We make as much as possible in-house, from start to finish. We also look at the environmental aspects of the food and cooking, where our ingredients come from. Organic practices in farming, harvesting and fishing are our priority, small-scale producers that take care of their land, of the water and air, and those who still produce artisan products in traditional manners also attract our interest.
Dylan: To make the minimal amount of impact on the environment as possible, but to stay true to Thai food and Thai flavours, and to never compromise on quality and beliefs.
You will be participating in the upcoming Ubud Food Festival. What can we expect from you?
Bo: Essentially Thai flavours and texture.
Dylan: Expect us to bring the heat.
What other events in conjunction with the festival are you looking forward to?
Bo: To exchange knowledge, passion and deliciousness at different sessions during the festival, to learn and explore more about other cuisines and to savour great food. I am prepared to take in all new experiences.
Dylan: I’ve never been to Bali so I’m really excited to see the local food scene and sample what’s on offer. I cant wait to meet local chefs and exchange knowledge with them. We are also doing a dinner on the 10th, so that should be fun!
For more information visit www.ubudfoodfestival.com. Tickets on sale and full program announced in mid-March.