Chef Yakup Tangsongsirisak, Chef-Owner of Fat Lamb Mediterranean Restaurant, is Thailand's Lambassador. He and many chefs from around the world participated in Aussie Meat Academy, a workshop for professional chefs, held by Meat and Livestock Australia (MLA) at Cape Dara Resort Pattaya, Thailand, in early October 2022.
Before receiving the title of MLA Lambambassador Thailand, Chef Yakup Tangsongsirisak competed and won Iron Chef Thailand in 2019. He was one of the special judges in an episode of Masterchef Thailand.
Chomp Magazine was lucky to have an interview with MLA Lambambassador Thailand about his views on his title, the following obligations, and his experience at Aussie Meat Academy.
How did you become Thailand's Lambassador, and how important is this title for the Thai gastronomy?
'For me, lamb has been a passion of mine. My restaurant specialises in Lamb dishes, and we use only lamb imported from Australia from sustainable and organic producers. I became Lambassador Thailand when MLA chose me to represent Thailand for a Lambassador 2022 in Melbourne, Australia, early this year to learn more about the ingredient.
'Many Thais still misunderstand that lamb has to be gamy. As Lambassador Thailand, it is my duty to promote facts about the lamb. Most Australian lamb producers raise their lambs in healthy conditions. The lambs are grass-fed and they live in an environment with a clean system, making Australia the world's best lamb resource. Lamb is a good and tasty protein alternative and I want to encourage more chefs to use lamb as their ingredient, not only the rack but other parts, such as the rib, shoulder, leg, fat, etc.
'This title means a lot because I was chosen from the whole country and certified to be one. Getting me, a Thai chef, to be part of this programme shows MLA's confidence in Thailand as a lamb market.'
How do you feel, and what does it mean to you to be Thailand's representative?
'I'm honoured and happy that I was chosen. It means that MLA accepts me as a lamb expert. As I mentioned earlier, I make it my mission to educate Thai consumers and chefs about lamb.'
How was your experience with the Aussie Meat Academy at Cape Dara Resort, Pattaya, in October?
'It was amazing! I had a great time meeting new friends. I had the opportunity to experiment with lamb in Thai and other cuisines. It was great to see Chef Haruto Sekizawa again. He's an incredible chef. He works with passion, and he is full of energy. I love and respect him. It's always good to have friends who share the same passion.'
You had a four-hand dinner with Japan's Lambassador, Chef Haruto, at your restaurant Fat Lamb. How was the collaboration?
'The collaboration was a one-of-a-kind experience for me. We got to cook together, giving guests a one-of-a-kind dining experience. Thanks to MLA for supporting us. Chef Haruto made his signature dish, the Lamb crown. I got to make my signature lamb borek with fig salad and pomegranate. The invited media in Thailand got to see that lamb is a versatile ingredient and can be in any cuisine from the Mediterranean to Korean, Japanese, Thai, etc. They could help spread the word to their readers.'
Chomp Magazine is happy for Thailand for having Chef Yakup Tangsongsirisak as their Lambassador.