Authentic Thai tastes prepared to international standards is the recipe for the continued success of restaurant chain Blue Elephant.
Nooror Somany Steppe, founding partner and director of Blue Elephant, Thai fine dining restaurant, believes that Thai restaurateurs have one advantage over other cuisines in the global market.
“A variety of flavors in one dish that is the standout of Thai food,” she says. “Thai food entrepreneurs can promote this point for products and services for distribution in local and global markets.”
Currently, Blue Elephant has eight branches around the world in Brussels – which was the first restaurant – Paris, Jakarta, Dubai, Copenhagen, Malta as well as Bangkok and Phuket in Thailand.
“The main thing is to bring fresh and good quality ingredients to cook authentic Thai food combined with international standardized production controls such as the BRC standard,” she says. “This allows consumers to trust our Blue Elephant brand.”
Blue Elephant has played a significant role in establishing the fine reputation for Thai food around the world, especially due to its involvement with the DITP in a wide range of activities, such as the promotion of the Thai food market in Africa and being selected for Milan Design Week 2017 as part of the Thai Brand Heroes Project - Thailand Heart-made Nation, which represents a new business model, incorporating innovation and creativity to create a global brand.
“In South Africa, our products are available at Woolworths including green curry, red curry, coconut cream and Thai cooking sets,” she says.
Nooror believes that street food is a fast growing global food trend, as is Asian cuisine. “It is a popular fast food that reflects the tastes and cultures of the people in that country,” she says. “Asian food is also growing in popularity, especially Thai food. It is important to maintain the identity and taste of authentic Thai food to the highest level.”
Restaurants are increasingly selling fusion food, with the main competitors to Thai cuisine being Vietnamese and Japanese. Another trend, especially in Europe is for health food that is both tasty and cheap.
“Restaurants need to find a way to promote health-oriented food along with traditional flavours at affordable price. The main target is young urban professionals and expats who are most likely to prefer takeaway and delivery services,” Nooror says.
Recently, Blue Elephant was ranked as one of 150 leading restaurants in Bangkok in the Thailand Tatler Best Restaurants Awards 2017. Nooror is particularly proud of this accolade.
“This award marks the score of a poll conducted by readers and editors of the Thailand Tatler Magazine who send their critics to our place without notice in order to avoid receiving special service from the restaurant,” she says.
Words by Natthinee Ratanaprasidhi