TRANSLATION | Eugenia Yang
“Tackle complex tasks with a simple heart.” As we walk into Taïrroir’s open kitchen, the motto displayed on the wall stands out amidst the serene dining ambience and perfectly captures the belief Chef Kai Ho follows throughout his culinary career. Choosing local seasonal ingredients, he wants to recreate our deepest, most moving epicurean memory. Whether the memory is fuzzy or clear, he finds pride in his ability to touch the hearts of his guests. Life after receiving his second Michelin star continues, as he still sees himself as the same Kai Ho who is always happy to share his culinary experience through dissecting the original concepts behind each and every dish he had designed and made.
廚房中另一個繁忙身影，是態芮不可或缺的靈魂人物—甜點主廚賴思瑩，來自新加坡的她，於 2021 年奪下亞洲 50 大最佳甜點主廚殊榮，以一絲不苟的細膩心思詮釋她眼裡的台灣味，為到訪態芮的食客劃下難以忘懷的休止符。而提起何順凱與賴思瑩的相識過程，一切可回溯至新加坡餐廳 Guy Savoy 的共事緣分，起初工作範疇並不重疊也互不熟悉的兩人，藉下班後同事們的聚餐，開始逐漸有了交集，「有工作機會都可以請我」，看似玩笑般的話語，在何順凱返台籌備態芮時，便力邀賴思瑩一同加入團隊，前往外地工作的夢想，於 2015 年正式實現。
A Sweet Encounter
Another key player at Taïrroir is most definitely Chef de Pâtisserie, Angela Lai. Born and raised in Singapore, she was voted as Asia’s Best Pastry Chef in 2021. With meticulous attention to detail, Angela plays around with the tastes of Taiwan and aims to bring a “perfect ending” feeling to each meal with her desserts. Speaking of how the two met, it all started at Michelin restaurant Guy Savoy in Singapore where they both worked at. At first, Kai and Angela were unfamiliar with each other since their work areas did not overlap. It wasn’t until a few after-work gatherings did they begin to cross paths. Once, she jokingly told him to let her know if there are any open job opportunities. In 2015, what was meant as a joke became a reality when Kai decided to move back to Taiwan and invite Angela to work as the pastry chef at Taïrroir—her dream of working abroad finally came true.
Following Epicurean Emotions
Drawing inspiration from everyday life, Chef Kai had always been persistent about incorporating his childhood memories and Taiwanese street food elements into his dishes. When asked about the most memorable street food, he says his favorite is Takoyaki. Recalling his elementary school days, he smiles as he remembers how he used to stop by the booth to buy a box of Takoyaki on his way home after school. The taste of mayonnaise, wasabi and katsuobushi had become a perfect combination that lingers in his mind even till now. Perhaps the habit of following these epicurean emotions is how Chef Kai never forgets his roots and always focuses on the present when it comes to cooking. To Angela, Hot Mochi on Milk Ice Shavings is her recent favorite night market food. Soft but chewy, the unique texture inspired one of her creations from this season’s menu. Reinterpreting traditional elements—mochi, sesame, peanut—as meringue and gelato, the dish becomes a surprising but familiar epicurean experience, one that perfectly combines the essences of Taiwanese and French cuisines.
The Philosophy of Life
If you take a close look at Taïrroir’s seasonal menus, you will see the recurrent use of asparagus in many of the dishes. Chef Kai explains that it’s because asparagus is an ingredient with many potentials. Although it can be found everywhere in Asia, the asparagus from Taiwan delivers a special taste. Not only does it come with a texture that is crisp and refreshing, but it also takes the whole visual of the dish to the next level. Among all of the courses, the main is the one that takes him the longest to create. Smiling lightly, in terms of food, Chef Kai says he doesn’t really have any preferences. “As long as it’s delicious and I like it, I will make it.” When it comes to getting things done, holding a seemingly casual but never careless attitude is the one principle he holds for life. “Man proposes, God disposes.” Chef Kai believes that there is no such thing as a natural course of life. Instead, it only happens after you have put in all your effort, hard work, sufficient time and energy. The same philosophy of life is also reflected in his vision for the future of Taïrroir. Besides starting the preparation of a new brand to create more opportunities for his employees and establish a sustainable business, Chef Kai also aspires to make Taïrroir the perfect gathering venue for his guests. “There are certain things that we’ve never thought about giving up. It is truly an honor to have the ability and opportunity to create such good memories for everyone.”
態芮Taïrroir / 台北市中山區樂群三路299號6樓/ 訂位專線：02-8501-5500