Chef Susie Nilklad – Owner of the restaurant Mi Piace in Chiang Mai
Chef Susie Nilklad runs her own private dining restaurant, Mi Piace, in her home in the mountains near Chiang Mai, Thailand. She trained in French and Italian, and cooks these two cuisines along with Moroccan and, on request, authentic and hard-to-find Thai dishes.
We chat to Susie about what it’s like running a restaurant at home and cooking Western food in the Thai countryside.
So Susie, what made you decide to start a restaurant at home?
Doing private dining gives me the opportunity to show my approach to cooking and highlight the produce that I use as the base for my cooking, which can change on a daily basis.
Who comes to eat at Mi Piace? How do they hear about you?
At the beginning, guests who came to my place were regular customers at the restaurant that I used to operate in town. Later on, word of mouth became the key advertisement.
Do you think being located quite rurally adds to the charm of the experience at Mi Piace?
Being away from town can have both pros and cons. But my main intention is to be able to cook the food that I like, and how I like it, for my guests. The 30-45 minute drive out of Chiangmai and up the mountainside gives guests the pleasure of greenery and refreshment. And once they arrive, they get to enjoy a cosy and comfortable venue.
How would you describe your cooking style?
Home-style fine dining that includes French, Italian and Moroccan cuisine.
You also sometimes serve a Thai menu?
Yes, we do serve authentic Thai to those who would like to experience true Thai cuisine. Our menu is hard to find in regular Thai restaurants.
Please tell us a little about your culinary training.
I was at Four Seasons Resort Chiangmai as an apprentice before I took a job at Indigo Pearl Phuket as Junior Sous Chef.
After that I felt that I needed proper training in order to move up the rank and become a female executive chef, which is rare in Thailand. So I took a French gastronomy class at Ecole Ritz Escoffier at The Ritz Paris hotel, followed by an intensive course at the Alaine Ducasse training centre.
Prior to my training in France, I took a course on the Evolution of Italian Cuisine at the Italian Culinary Institute in Calabria, Italy.
Where do you get your produce from? Are some ingredients hard to source?
Most of the produce I use, especially vegetables, are grown locally by local farmers. Some of my fresh ingredients, such as scallops, blue shell mussels, and wild-caught fishes are imported.
Do you use any unusual ingredients?
Not really, all the ingredients I use are typical in Western cuisine.
What is the most difficult aspect of running a private or home restaurant?
Being always afraid that the guests will leave without full stomachs!
What are your future culinary plans?
I am truly happy with where we are right now. Our goal is to always deliver our best cooking and to present a memorable meal to our guests.
Thank you, Chef Susie, and we wish you continuing success with Mi Piace. If you want to see more of her work: check out her special recipe.
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