Lisa Kresl of Advocate Magazine, the community magazine covering the Preston Hollow-North Dallas neighborhood, sat down for a chat with our own Chef Nikky Phinyawatana a short while ago. The resulting profile came out recently on the magazine’s website, and the charming write-up talks about Chef Nikky’s background, how she came into the restaurant business, and what drives her.
Thank you, Lisa and Preston Hollow Advocate for your kind words about Chef Nikky. We truly appreciate it.
“Don’t go into the restaurant business. It’s the hardest thing.”
One of the more interesting points that came up during the interview is someone telling Chef Nikky this: “Whatever you do, don’t go into the restaurant business. It’s the hardest thing.”
That was 15 years ago. At the time, Chef Nikky was a student, waiting on tables while finishing culinary studies at El Centro College.
How happy we are that she didn’t heed that advice. Otherwise, she wouldn’t be the multi-awarded chef she is today, with accolades from various Dallas culture shapers like Dallas Observer, Dallas Eater, and D Magazine. Also, it isn’t every day that a chef gets invited to present a special dinner at the James Beard House in New York City.
But more importantly, at least to us, is we won’t be able to taste her food if she heeded that advice not to go into the restaurant business. Chef Nikky’s spin on Thai food, which she calls New Bangkok-style Asian fusion cuisine, is unique, clever, and can be enjoyed by everybody. Whether you’re a carnivore or a vegan, whether you’re an indiscriminate eater or on a special gluten-free diet, Chef Nikky has something you will love at each of her three Asian Mint locations. Her food is now even more accessible with the recent opening of her EnjoyMint fast-casual restaurant.
In the interview, Chef Nikky described her food as: “It’s comfort food that people crave. It makes people feel warm, happy, and taken care of.”
Chef Nikky: “I like being part of the community.”
We Mint Fanatics know just how much Chef Nikky loves being part of the community. She’s pretty much plugged into the neighborhoods where her restaurants are located. She readily participates in events that promote, not just Thai culture, but also causes that affect the community and are dear to her.
Additionally, Chef Nikky believes in giving back to the community. She’s one of the growing number of entrepreneurs who believe that charitable businesses are successful businesses. Every time you eat at Asian Mint or EnjoyMint, a portion of the amount you paid automatically goes to one of the charities Chef Nikky supports. She doesn’t take tax credits for her donations.
On a more micro level, she tries to help moms expand their kids’ tastes. “I love taking care of moms. I feel their pain,” she said in the interview. With Asian Mint’s healthy and fun kids’ menu, children can explore different flavors, and their moms can rest assured that their little ones are eating fresh, high-quality, nutritious food.
Again, thank you, Advocate Magazine, for this lovely profile of Chef Nikky.