50 Best Explores Thailand in 16 Instagram posts

Emer Schlosser - 16/03/2016

Three of the world’s top chefs embarked on the first edition of 50 Best Explores in Chiang Mai, Thailand. Joan Roca of El Celler De Can Roca, No.1 in The World’s 50 Best Restaurants, Ashley Palmer-Watts of Dinner by Heston Blumenthal, No.7, and Peter Gilmore of Quay, No.58, paired up with Thailand's Iron Chef Chumpol, Chef Nooror and Chef Nan.

Together they explored various stations of the Royal Project, an initiative set up to combat opium growth, poverty and deforestation by offering farmers alternative crops yielding equal income.

Here's a visual overview of our adventure... 

Tuesday 1st March

– the day after Asia's 50 Best Restaurants 2016

The three international chefs (from left to right): Ashley Palmer-Watts; Peter Gilmore; Joan Roca.

The trip begins up north in the hills...

The Royal Project site by sunset.

Wednesday 2nd March

…and in the light of day.


Monjam amateur pan #chiangmai #50bestexplores #thailand #royalproject

A video posted by Pete Barrett (@lifestylehack) on

Morning begins with the freshest fruit picked just hours before eating – such wonderfully intense flavours! 

Joan Roca
and Iron Chef Chumpol watch the coffee process from plant to grinder.

Ashley Palmer-Watts
and Chef Nan get their hands dirty. Have you ever tried catching sturgeon with your bare hands? 

Meanwhile, Peter Gilmore and Chef Nooror sample fresh produce from a Royal Project farm.

After learning about individual ingredients, it's time to cook local-style.

Some of the chefs learn to cook in wooden huts over charcoal fires.


Lighting charcoal #50bestexplores

A photo posted by Peter Gilmore (@chefpetergilmore) on

The rest experience the local cooking in wood huts over wood fires.


Roots, bok Choi, curry paste and salt#50bestexplores

A photo posted by apwchef (@apwchef) on

Friday 4th March

Back in Bangkok, the adventure culminates in a gala dinner at Chef Nooror's Blue Elephant restaurant, with a feast prepared by the trip’s Thai chefs using Royal Project ingredients. 

First on the menu is peach and herb salad with Thai smoked trout crumbles and crispy rice balls of Miang smoked trout with Thai peach chutney, courtesy of Chef Nan

Next is roasted bresse chicken in a Thai-style salad with cucumber and flavours of thyme and macadamia sauce, by Chef Nooror.

Course three is grilled trout fillet with Royal Project honey mustard sauce, Japanese pumpkin puree and assorted Northern herbs, by Chef Chumpol.

And it ends on a sweet note with Thai sponge "Kanom Muscat" and smoked sticky rice pudding, sweet sticky rice, passionfruit and kaffir lime mousse and coconut sorbet, by Chef Surakit Khemkaew, Thailand's rising star chef.

Now watch the video highlights from the trip:

Stay tuned to find out where the next 50 Best Explores epicurean expedition will take us…