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Chaophraya Leeds Turns 15!

To celebrate being open in Leeds for 15 years, Steve, the talented and passionate business manager of Chaophraya, sits down to talk with his team about the past, present and future! Check out the interview below...

 

Thanks for sitting down with us to tell us a bit about your journey with Chaophraya so far. We’ll start at the very beginning, how long have you been with Thai Leisure Group and have you always been in the same role?

Hi! Ok great, I’ve been here since May 2013. I joined on my birthday and the week in which trinity Leeds opened, so a busy one! I started as a Trainee Business Manager but took over the site fully after 6 months. I had lots of training in Thai culture and how to get the most out of a Thai team from Khun Natty and Khun Saipin who both worked for the company and took me under their wings to train me. This was very helpful considering I’d never worked with a Thai team before.

 

Has the business changed much since you first started?

Thai Leisure Group has been always focussed on the 4 company values, Ow Jai Sai (care from the heart), Ha Dao (service excellence), Sanook (fun) and Samakee (togetherness). The values really resonate with Thai culture and translate well into hospitality so it’s a great ideology to work to.

We still get a lot of the same customers since we opened and since I started, they’re very loyal and love the service and quality that they receive. A lot have become friends in their own rights. we have grown together – seen customers grow up, have kids, start families, own homes etc.
The business has grown, and the market has changed but we stay true to the original ideas that Kim and Martin had.

 

What’s your favourite thing about working in Chaophraya Leeds?

The team are like a family.

About 60% of the team have been here longer than I have. We eat together and enjoy time off together. I act as a father for the team and help them in their daily lives. Currently helping complete secondary school applications for the kids of my sous chef!

The whole environment of the restaurant is designed at times to be peaceful and relaxing – to act as a window into Thailand and an escape from the grey British weather and this applies to the staff as well as the customers so every day I come to a little piece of Thailand – escape the drudgery of everyday life, the bleak news reports and the mountains of washing up and surround myself with lovely food, great drinks, and amazing people.

 

How do you and your team ensure that each customer receives the best quality of service and experience?

Ow Jai Sai. Its second nature to a lot of the team as they have been here for 15 years. The new team members really take it on board when they see older staff live the values. this knowledge, care, and enjoyment in what we do resonates with all guests.

 

What dishes/drinks always receive the best feedback? And has this been the same throughout the years?

Weeping tiger has always had great feedback and our guests love it.

 

Weeping Tiger, Chaophraya Leeds

We changed our menu about 3 years ago and took the decision to upgrade the weeping tiger to a gorgeous Sirloin Steak cooked over Himalayan salt rock, with a quills egg and Thai marinade. This dish would look amazing in any restaurant in the city, but our loyal customers pined for the weeping tiger and treated its disappearance as a loss in the family. Ultimately, we reverted to the original and best, held our hands up and promised never to take it away again.

 

What are you most looking forward to with your site and team in the near future?

Watching the team grown and become successful, meeting new guests who have never had Thai food before and sharing our love for the culture and people. There are some new exciting drinks coming on board which will be a fusion of key Thai ingredients and classic British recipes. I also can’t wait to introduce some new ingredients and dishes over the course of 2020 – but don’t worry weeping tiger will stay on the menu!

https://chaophraya.co.uk/leeds/