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Chef’s Cheat Day: Following Gerard Villaret to his favourite spots in Bangkok

New in town and hot in town, Chef Gerard Villaret has been causing quite the stir since he arrived to join Elements, inspired by Ciel Bleu at the Okura Prestige. We sat down with the young and charming Spanish chef to find out what has been tickling his tastebuds upon his arrival, and where he likes to go on his cheat days outside the kitchen. Read on for an inspired must-try list.

Chef Gerard Villaret joined the Okura Prestige team earlier this summer as Chef de Cuisine at the Michelin-starred Elements, inspired by Ciel Bleu. He comes to the Big Mango as an import straight from Ciel Bleu at the Hotel Okura Amsterdam, a Michelin two-star restaurant helmed by the renowned Chef Arjan Speelman.

Following stints at other notable venues including Roses Cantina, Vendome, Daalder, and De Librije, it’s no surprise that Chef Gerard has quickly become a popular figure on Bangkok’s food scene. Always keen to try new things and explore the city’s best hidden gems, read on for the chef’s exclusive must-try list. Who knows? Maybe you’ll bump into Chef Gerard here on his cheat days, kicking back with chicken rice, Peking duck, or Spanish tapas after his weekly Muay Thai class.

[Hero and Featured Image via The Okura Prestige Bangkok]

A Chef’s Cheat Day with Gerard Villaret

Chef Gerard Villaret
Image Credit: The Okura Prestige Bangkok

Like a true Bangkokian, Chef Gerard gets his chicken rice fix at Go-Ang Pratunam

I landed in Bangkok on New Year’s Eve and my very first ‘street food’ experience was at Go-Ang Pratunam, and of course it can only be ‘chicken rice!’ I came across this place because it was included in the Michelin Guide Thailand. I quickly felt in love with the place, it brought back so many memories and flash backs to when I first visited Singapore. My brother and I went to this famous chicken rice place 6 years ago. I often go to Go-Ang for chicken rice after my Thai boxing lessons on Mondays. It’s certainly a place to go for an easy, quick, and tasty meal.

Find out more: Go-Ang Pratunam Chicken Rice

He followed a foodie to Saeng Chai Phochana, and never looked back

Since my arrival to Bangkok, I have met many interesting people and some of them became good friends. There was one particular regular guest at the restaurant that became a good friend, and I considered him to be my Bangkok food and beverage guru. He would always introduce me to interesting places, and there was this one day where he took me to Sang Chai Phochana after we went to a cocktail bar. I had to say “that sour pork soup was just perfect!” It was the perfect dish and a perfect cure to the brain after those drinks we had. Surprisingly I still remember the flavour, and I normally go every time I’m in the neighbourhood.

Find out more: Sang Chai Phochana

Chef Gerard Villaret favourite chicken rice
Image Credit: Go Ang Pratunam

For Peking duck, Chef Gerard says it’s got to be Mott 32

Even though I have visited this restaurant only once, I have a lot of good memories from it. I am a duck lover and I must say that their signature ‘Apple Wood Roasted 42-days Peking Duck’ was simply to-die-for and it is a must-try dish. I enjoyed how they cooked and served the second preparation of the duck meat, which was with wok fried with chili and garlic. Mouthwatering indeed!

Find out more: Mott 32

When he’s with friends, the chef likes to head to Lerdtip

Personally, I think this place offers an intense flavour with creative local dishes and a good mix of Chinese influence and flavour. Even though it is a bit far out of the city and tourist areas, I still try to go there as often as I can just for the fantastic dishes such as the Moo Manow pork and Orsuan fried oyster with eggs. It is a great place to be dining with a group of friends where you can share and get to enjoy different dishes. It’s more fun that way!

Find out more: Lerdtip

Chef Gerard Villaret at mott32
Image Credit: Mott 32 Bangkok

Together with the team, he likes to visit Jae Daeng Thai-Esan

I would say that this is the go-to place for my team and I. It is a place that holds a special place in my heart. It was the first restaurant that my team at Elements, inspired by Ciel Bleu, took me to after long hours of work and for a late night meal. It is more like a get-together kind of place for us. If we have a kitchen trainee finishing up the internship, we will take them there. There are 2 particular dishes that I must order every time. These are the ‘seafood fried-rice’ and ‘beef lemon grass spicy salad.’ My god, super tasty!

Chef Gerard Villaret with chef palanca at vaso
Image Credit: Vaso Bangkok

Vaso holds a special place in Chef Gerard’s heart

Vaso is another place that is very special to me, as it brings back all those memories 15 years ago when both my brother and I were living abroad. We did not get to see much of each other, as sometimes we live in different countries, even though we both work in the kitchen. Every time I visited him, I would normally sit at the bar counter and eat his food while talking and catching up on things. Vaso reminds me of that, but instead of visiting my brother, I visit a friend of mine, Chef Palanca, with just a little noisier vibe. The dishes that I normally order are ‘tuna belly crudo’ and ‘fideua langoustines.’

Find out more: Vaso Spanish Tapas Bar

Chef Gerard Villaret recommends yamazato
Image Credit: Yamazato

And lastly, for Japanese food, nowhere beats Yamazato

I love Japanese food and I have to admit that Yamazato offers various choices of Japanese food that cater to my craving. One dish in particular that I consider to be my all-time favourite is ‘unajyu,’ or grilled eel served on rice. It is absolutely flavourful, tasty, and boasts a very juicy texture! Come on, who can resist it?

Find out more: Yamazato

You can find Chef Gerard Villaret and all his delicacies at Elements, inspired by Ciel Bleu at the Okura Prestige Bangkok. The restaurant is open Wednesday to Sunday from 6-10.30pm.

Chef’s Cheat Day: Following Gerard Villaret to his favourite spots in Bangkok

Lisa Gries

Creative Content Director, Bangkok

Lisa is the Creative Content Director at Lifestyle Asia Thailand. When she’s not knees-deep in web algorithms, editorial calendars, or traffic-driving strategies, you’ll likely find her in downward-facing dog at the yoga studio, or immersed in conversation at a secret bar in China town. Lisa writes mostly on dining, travel, and pop-culture, and is a huge fan of soup dumplings, Riesling, and power napping — in exactly that order.

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