INTERVIEW: CHEF BOBBY PRADACHITH
To Chef Bobby Pradachith, Lao cuisine is like a religion. At 23, he’s already made a name for himself in the Washington D.C. culinary scene as chef and co-owner of Thip Khao — the traditional Laotian restaurant he operates alongside his mother. Before he became a full-fledged evangelist, Bobby spent his first year out of culinary school absorbing the modernist food philosophy at José Andrés’ Minibar — training he now adapts to the family business. This week Bobby dropped by Ace Hotel Pittsburgh to celebrate his place among Eater’s Young Guns, taking the opportunity to proselytize about his deep passion for Laotian culture and cuisine.
When did you know you wanted to cook?
When I was a sophomore in high school, I went through some sort of an identity crisis — I didn’t know who I was as a person. Being born in American as a Laotian, I was heavily influenced by American culture. I began to lose my understanding of my family’s culture. I felt as though I was disappointing my parents because I didn’t continue learning about my family’s heritage.