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Culinary creativity meets family tradition: meet the top chef cooking with heart

Discover how Joy's deep-rooted family recipes and culinary expertise have transformed the dining experience at Hyatt Regency Hotel
Hyatt Regency Hotel Joy

Joy’s culinary journey, steeped in family tradition and influenced by the expertise of her mother, grandmother, and aunt, adds a rich layer of skill her role as a chef at Hyatt Regency Hotel Manchester.

Her bond with her family’s Thai culinary legacy shines through in her incorporation of cherished ‘hand-me-down’ recipes into the hotel’s menu, underscoring the significance of tradition and personal heritage in the culinary world.

Simply put, the love that her family gave her in crafting these amazing dishes, goes on to your plate.

Joy’s work features on the Hyatt Regency Hotel’s amazing Thursday Treasures menu, with a delicious one-pot Thai massaman chicken.

We sat down with Joy to talk about her journey from Thailand to England, and her love for cooking.

Joy, chef at Hyatt Regency Hotel

Can you tell us about your background in cooking and how your family’s influence has shaped your approach to cooking?

I think it runs in my blood because my whole family—my grandma, my auntie, and my mom—are chefs.

So, I grew up with that.

When I was young, I learned how to cook Thai food from my grandma and my auntie.

We started with basics like stir-fry and all that stuff. About 20 years ago, I tried various things; I even worked at a bar as a bartender before realising that cooking was what I loved, not bartending or anything else.

My first job in the kitchen was as a pastry chef in England.

What inspired you to pursue a career in the culinary arts, particularly in a professional setting like Hyatt Regency Hotel Manchester?

It was always something I wanted to do, to create beautiful tasty food. Luckily Hyatt gave me a chance and I hope I’m doing a great job. It’s such a brilliant place to work, and full of creative chefs.

They have their recipes too, like Matt with his Jamaican chicken. They’re nice. I’ve been working on a few recipes, but the head chef here wants to change the menu, so I’m not sure when they’ll be incorporated – hopefully soon!

How do you balance honouring traditional family recipes with incorporating your unique flair and creativity into the dishes you create for the hotel’s menu?

One of my favourite recipes from my grandmother is Thai chicken spaghetti, but instead of rice noodles, we use gluten noodles. I think that’s sort of a mix of traditional and modern, and that’s something I like to replicate in my cooking, too.

I can add my twist to these recipes, but I prefer to keep the original. I want people to taste the food my grandma always made for me.

What are some of the challenges you’ve faced in adapting family recipes for a commercial kitchen environment, and how have you overcome them?

I think it was initially difficult to make the transition from Thai cooking to British tastes, but it’s something I think I’ve mastered now. It was very different. In European cuisine, they don’t use as much chilli as we do in Thailand. We rely heavily on chilli, garlic, ginger, and such, whereas here, it’s more subtle.

When I first moved over it was tricky to get some ingredients but now, it’s such a multicultural place – you can find what you’re looking for in Manchester.

It’s easier now as ingredients are readily available. Some things like cut kaffir lime can be substituted with leaves instead of fruit, but you might need to adjust the quantity. 

I’ve worked hard to find a place that lets me use my talents and creativity. Here at The Hyatt, I have the opportunity to create dishes I love and want people to try.

What about Joy’s curry?

When we went down to review the Thursday Treasures menu, here’s what we had to say about Joy’s dish.

“Created by Joy, and bringing joy.

“Iyou’re a fan of peanut-flavoured curries, this is one for you.

“With Thai, Persian, and Indian influences Joy’s one-pot Thai massaman chicken is deliciously tender and rich.

“Cinnamon, Cardamon, cloves and peanuts create an incredibly lush curry that will have you smacking your lips (and ordering four more bowls of it).”

What is the Thursday Treasures menu?

The Thursday Treasures menu is a dining experience that promises 90 minutes of unlimited curry indulgence across eight tantalising curries from all over the world.

You can book a table for this by clicking here

Featuring hand-selected family recipes that have been passed down by generation, this incredible menu has stone-cold classics and intricate new dishes whichwe’re telling you now, are all delightful.

And incredibly, it’s just £19.99 per person for all you can eat.

To book a room at the Hyatt Regency Hotel, please click here

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