World Chefs: Andy Ricker shares Thai obsession in first cookbook

Tue Nov 12, 2013 1:05pm EST
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By Richard Leong

NEW YORK (Reuters) - American chef Andy Ricker shares his more than two-decade long obsession with Thai food and offers tips about how to cook it in his first cookbook, "Pok Pok."

The book, which Ricker co-wrote with food writer J.J. Goode, takes its title from the name of the Portland, Oregon restaurant he opened in 2005.

The self-taught chef has launched three more restaurants in the northwestern city and has two eateries in New York.

The 49-year-old, who was born in North Carolina, spoke to Reuters about his love for Thailand and why his chicken wings, which are also featured in the cookbook, are so popular.

Q: What do you want people to learn from your book?

A: People should realize that there's more to Thai food than what you typically see here in the west. This book is just scratching the surface of the sampling of the food I've had traveling over there over the years. It's interesting. It's approachable. It's not bizarre.

The other thing I want people to take away is that there is no easy short-cut to making really good regional Thai food. While a lot of it is not super-fast, it's also not technically difficult to do.

Q: How does it feel to be an American spokesman for Thai and Southeast Asian food?   Continued...

American chef Andy Ricker, who specializes in Southeast Asian food, poses in an undated handout photo. Andy Ricker/Handout via Reuters