Coffee With - Phanuphon "Black" Bulsuwan & Anothai "Beer" Pichaiyuth
Chefs Black and Beer are the power couple behind Blackitch Artisan Kitchen, located in the trendy neighbourhood of Nimmanhaemin in Chiang Mai. Their passion for food is cultivated by the wondrous array of local ingredients Thailand has to offer. With only space for 16 guests per seating, Blackitch prizes intimacy and quality. Through the 9 delectable courses of the Chefs’ tasting menu will you experience a unique dining concept that expounds the importance of the seasonal and the cultural in creating a multi-sensory culinary delight.
For them, each dish cannot be simply categorised as one specific cuisine or another. An important part of their food process involves fermentation. In order to cast away the common misconceptions attributed to this technique, they hold cooking and food workshops that help spread the nutritional benefits of fermenting foods. How apt it should be that they have named their workshop ‘Charm,’ something that both of them exude in bowlfuls as they take the time to tell us about why they do what they do.
As a self taught chef what have your main culinary inspirations been?
Black: My inspiration has been from the local ingredients, the mixed culture—in Thailand there is a lot of culture, its from the north, the northeast, the central and from the south—they’re totally different. We don’t cook [just] the northern style, like Chiang Mai food. We can use any of the local produce in Thailand and create something new, something culinary or use it in a family recipe.
How do you think a marriage between chefs can play out in the kitchen?
Black: For me its good. When we cook together we fight a lot, because we speak our mind. When we taste each other’s dishes, like when she bakes a cake, I’ll just tell her it’s too sweet. You can speak directly, you don’t have to keep it in. It’s good for this kitchen.
Beer: It’s more like partners. When we team up. My view in food and his view in food might be different but that’s the thing we need partners to make things better. Sometimes I cannot think of a dessert [to make] at all, I might just dig around in his kitchen and he might say something where I will just feel the ‘kick,’ and I just go down and bake. We just light each other up and sometimes in a way where we fight—we fight a lot when coming up with one particular dish or toning up things in the restaurant. But it’s in a good way.
Black: Yeah, because we also drive with our egos. We have to compromise; sometimes you have to [bring it down] for the small things.
Beer: We try to smooth things out. Listen more and talk less. Well, that’s the ideal. It’s not really happened very often but sometimes we think, ‘This [dish] isn’t good enough,’ and we talk, and its more like consulting and it makes things better.
*Text by Dawn Wong
*Adapted from our previous issue: A Harmony of Flavours