The Thai master from Down Under
Relocating for a job is nothing new, but moving 10,000 miles away might give even the most ambitious go-getters pause. But not Ty Bellingham of the famed Sydney, Australia, eatery, Sailor’s Thai, who packed up his family (including his very pregnant wife) and moved to New York City to head up the kitchen at Kittichai. Now the proud parent of a “three-week-old New Yorker” and overseer of a radical menu revamp, Bellingham is on the front lines of some massive changes. He tells Metro about how he keeps his ground.
This is a big life change. Did you ever think maybe you shouldn’t do it?
When we found out my wife was pregnant again before we moved, we thought, “Does this change anything?” And we came to the conclusion that it didn’t; we’ve always wanted to give New York a go. I think every chef in Australia feels the same.
How much of the menu have you changed?
About 80 to 85 percent. I’ve kept a couple of favorites, like the chocolate ribs to keep the older customers happy, but have added my own Mekong whiskey barbecue sauce. I want to introduce new things
What do you love most about cooking Thai cuisine?
It’s like nothing you’ve ever tasted. It’s a completely different cuisine. French food is pretty and subtle but Thai food is the exact opposite! It’s bold, in your face, and packs a punch.
It’s only been three months, but what are you most proud of since you’ve been here?
I feel like I’ve rejuvenated the passion in the kitchen. The line cooks are really interested in what we’re doing. We’re making our own curry paste, our own fresh lime juice and tons of stuff now in-house. We’re a really great team and everyone is devoted.
60 Thompson St.