[thechat] My baby is one year old!

Alan McCoy a.r.mccoy at larc.nasa.gov
Tue Nov 30 11:16:40 CST 2004

Madhu Menon wrote:

> My restaurant, Shiok, actually turns one year old on 12 December. It's 
> an unbelievable feeling. In fact, it doesn't feel like a year at all. 
> It doesn't seem that long ago that I decided to chuck a 7+ year career 
> in IT to follow a lifelong passion and set up a restaurant.

That's fantastic, Madhu!! I'm glad your life-long passion is becoming a 
reality. Asian cuisine is my favorite and all your dishes (at least the 
ones you've shared photos of) always look very scrumptious.

> The only thing that kept us afloat was our reputation for the food we 
> served, which got us a small group of loyal evangelising customers. 
> They spread the word when we had no money to spend on any serious 
> advertising. We clawed our way back into an operational break-even 
> stage and we're still standing, thankfully.

Word of mouth is THE best marketing any restaurant can hope for. Happy 
customers are loyal customers and they usually make a point of telling 
their friends about their good experiences.

> I just wanted to share that with you folks because I told thechat 
> about my plans before I broke it to many of my other friends and 
> family members.

Hey, I thought we WERE your family members! ;-)

> I'm planning a special event to celebrate, so I'd appreciate any 
> suggestions for what we should do to make it special.

Well, this might involve a bit of work, but after reading the chef's 
notes section of your site, I really think you should write a Shiok 
cookbook. Doesn't have to be a huge thing. Maybe just a few recipes from 
the menu along with some of your personal favorites. You really have a 
natural flair for writing casual, non-intimidating cooking instructions 
that even I could follow. (yes, I finally tried one of your 
recipes...more on that at the end**)

Here in Virginia, USA, a local chef and restaurateur by the name of 
Marcel Desaulniers wrote a desert cookbook called "Death By Chocolate" 
(http://www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/tg/detail/-/0847815641/). It was a 
HUGE seller and spawned a TV cooking show and several followup books. 
But the real benefactor was his restaurant, The Trellis in Williamsburg. 
Business increased tenfold. His deserts are the most popular things on 
the menu and most all of them are featured in his books.

Just a thought...


** Anyway, my experience with your recipe...I decided to try the Tofu 
stir-fried with basil (you know, the Tao Hoo Pad Bai Kaprao). I went to 
the grocery to buy the chiles and came away with what I *thought* were 
green chiles. I chopped them up and made a paste together with the 
garlic, shallots and salt, as recommended.

I added them to the hot oil in the wok. About five minutes later I was 
opening windows and turning on fans as it became clear that I had just 
pepper-gassed my entire family. Everyone was coughing and running as far 
from the kitchen as they could, cursing me and my "damned tofu crap" 
every step of the way.

Once the fumes finally dissipated, I sampled the completed dish. It was 
quite tasty...a bit hot, but tasty. I think my mistake was in purchasing 
the wrong chiles. Our local grocery has a penchant for mislabeling 
produce at times and my knowledge of chile varieties isn't quite up to 
par to begin with.

I plan to try it again, but with considerably less heat next time. ;-)

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