• Nam Pongvichit

The Origin of A Food-ist. (Repost)

I'm not much of a writer or a reporter, let alone a reader. Given a topic that interests me, then I can write about it all day. With that said, please excuse my writing style, grammar and occasional use of "hip" vocabulary. 

As a young child growing up in Thailand, I was quite a "particular" eater. Okay, we can call it "picky". I was served (with what I now know as) delicate, savory, and bold flavor dishes. I didn't grow up with much but food was never dull or lacking. Looking back, my choices were filled with range of flavors and textures. But, I always chose ONLY the meats and occasionally cucumbers or steamed long beans with my rice. I'd sit there and fuss and pick at my plate eating only the protein and the bare minimum of my rice. Basically NOT expanding my palate or exploring the texture and impact vegetables have on a dish. This was my "style" for almost two decades. I remember being this way until I was almost a high school graduate! 

During my junior year of high school, I discovered a show that pretty much launched my interest in food in a way that I never imagined. You see, I was always a fan of food... As in eating the food. But when I was introduced to the show Top Chef, everything changed... I was interested in ingredients other than the meat. I was exposed to all the different ways food could be prepared. It was an eye opening experience. Since then, I would seek out to explore my palate by trying new flavors and different cuisines. Nothing fancy but different from chicken tenders and fries. (not that there is anything wrong with that). Then I started to cook! If you knew me as my younger self, you'd be surprised too. I started to cook with vegetables and spices. I explored the different recipes and tastes. I became addicted to cooking. It was my happy place. My kitchen became my sanctuary, my knives became my hands and my spices became my weapons. I was rocking. 

This cooking and experimenting phase continued for years after... even when I moved to Texas and then back to Virginia. Then I met someone, whom became my best friend and foodie buddy, and we explored all sorts of cuisines. Being so close to DC, it was too hard not to find good food and new food! JT and I would indulge ourselves in amazing new dishes and flavor profiles I had never imagined tasting. 

Then came the tradition, Dinner With Friends Tuesdays, where my friends and I would get together in Vienna and sit down to enjoy dishes prepared by Dan, JT and myself. We did such for a while and it was such a blast. As we were coming up with dishes to cook, we were still exploring for new things. One day, JT finally persuaded me to try out this new place his cousin worked at as the sommelier called Clarity in Vienna, VA. It was then, my mind was blown away. I had always heard of the "New American" concept on Top Chef and internet. But, I had never tasted it or been to an open kitchen restaurant, I fell in love.

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That night, Dan was also at the restaurant and had expressed to the owner and bartenders of how much I love food and cooking. He also mentioned our "Dinner With Friends Tuesdays" nights. Before I realized, I was invited to cook in the Clarity kitchen! I didn't believe it happened at first. But I confirmed later with the owner/executive chef, Jonathan Krinn, and not too long after... I cooked in the Clarity family's kitchen! IT WAS AN HONOR! I was also quite nervous!

To wrap up my back story, ever since I stepped foot into Clarity, I became inspired. I started designing my own dishes and experiment with different ingredients and cooking techniques. This, being my first blog on food, post is a tribute to Clarity for sparking my inspiration on why I live... to eat. <3

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Antonia, Chef Jonathan Krinn and myself on the "Honorary Chef Night" at Clarity Kitchen

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Adam, The Butcher, was my sous chef for the night. Couldn't have done it without him!

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The dish I prepared for the Clarity family. This was a dish I grew up eating in Thailand with a twist. The whole dish was deconstructed and altered with different prep techniques. (seared pork belly, garlic chips, deep fried boiled egg, fresh thai chili and tamarind-palm sugar drizzle)

In February, JT and I visited Clarity, our home away from home, once again. Of course, like always, we were delighted with the service, the drinks, and especially the food. Following is the dishes we ordered ourselves that night. (the pictures does these dishes no justice, you must try for yourself)!

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Thank you so much for stopping by!

Check out Clarity and you won't regret it! 

facebook: https://www.facebook.com/clarityvienna

website: http://www.clarityvienna.com

location: 442 Maple Ave E, Vienna, Virginia 22180

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