Meet Lan Thai, also known as the “Drunken Master Chef”. Lan is a San Diego-based chef who believes in the importance of real, healthy, delicious food and that “the best beer is a beer well-deserved”.
Lan was born in Thailand and was raised on home cooking. From a young age Lan was instilled with the value of quality foods. She remembers growing up and helping her mother and father grow, raise and cook all of their own food on their family farm in San Diego.
Inspired by her heritage, Lan’s specialty is a fusion of Asian (particularly Thai, Vietnamese and Chinese) and California Cuisine. She estimates that she’s made more than 1 million individual spring rolls, egg rolls and dumplings in her lifetime. Lan first explored beer pairing right around the time that the San Diego craft beer scene was exploding. She enjoyed sampling the different craft beers that were coming out and was having a hard time drinking some of the more potent beers without a food to complement and enhance the flavors. She began playing with a wide variety of beers and learning how the flavor profiles worked together. The complexities, tastes and nose profiles of each beer challenged her to find a pairing that really worked.
As Lan was exploring and understanding tastes more, she considered the process and ingredients that were going into the craft beers she was drinking. The breweries were taking so much care in sourcing the best ingredients and materials to produce their beer. In contrast, when the beer was getting consumed, it would be paired with greasy, heavy, bar food. If the breweries were being so careful and calculated with the beer’s ingredients, why not use high quality, local ingredients to create the perfect food, with the perfect taste, to complement each beer’s unique flavors? Lan took this idea and ran with it, she began creating recipes and meals with locally sourced ingredients to be paired with specific beers.
Most recently, we had some fun with Lan in the kitchen and she created dishes to compliment Towne Park’s amber, white ale, blonde, IPA, and pale ale.
SPOTLIGHT: Lan’s favorite is the Towne Park Amber; Best to pair with Asian food.
Here’s what Lan made for each beer:
- Amber Ale: Korean style spicy chicken wings- Organic chicken with a honey soy glaze
- White Ale: Coconut Ceviche
- Blonde Ale: Poke Bowl with Nori
- IPA: Carrot Cake
- Pale Ale: Roasted Vegetable board with hummus, garlic dip and tzatziki
What were the two things that initially attracted Lan to Towne Park? Our Founder Brett Lawrence’s vision for Towne Park and the value that he puts in community, she loved his passion for bringing people together. The second thing was that our favorite beers are also her favorite beers. It was a perfect paring.
We loved collaborating with Lan and getting to experience our beers with a whole new world of flavors. Working with Lan was just the beginning for Towne Park and we can’t wait to taste all of the exciting parings that our other chef friends create with our beers.