Desmond Chen roughly defines what it means to be a restaurateur in perpetuity. The owner and president of Thai House Ventures has been in the business since he was a child, climbing the ranks until he is now, operating Charm Modern Thai, Chilli House Thai Bistro, Urban Thai Bistro and the New Pink Elephant. from Alberni. Thai.
Desmond’s story begins with that of his father, Patrick Chen, who immigrated to Canada from Hong Kong in 1967. He studied at BCIT and worked at the Pacific Palisades hotel in the 1970s before opening a series. Chinese restaurants, including Richmond’s first, the Unicorn. His love affair with Thai cuisine eventually led to five more restaurants, the first of which was Thai House on Robson (1986).
Her son (Desmond is an only child) officially started in the family business as a dishwasher in grade 8. As his father’s empire grew, he did everything from deliveries to preparing sauces, servers and accounts.
The rest, as they say, is history …
First memory? I ordered lobster to be delivered to my dad’s Chinese restaurant in Richmond when I was 8 years old.
Is the thing you are eating bad for you that you will never stop eating? Instant ramen noodles.
Local bartender who could sell you something? Shaun Layton [L’Abattoir].
Have you overcome an addiction? Yes, smoke.
The scariest situation you’ve ever been in? When I was 12, I was hit by a pickup truck running a red light while riding my bike across the street.
Most unlucky moment of your life? Being run over by a van.
What are you proud of? My family.
What makes you angry? Dishonest people.
Three things about your Kerrisdale that make you want to live there? I love it because it’s so convenient: five minutes from my office, close to my restaurants, and within walking distance of a good variety of shops and restaurants.
A drink that you will never have again? Chartreuse! 1 ounce feels like you’ve drunk 10 ounces of 151!
Fashion hijacking among women? Crocs with jeans.
Favorite Vancouver Bridge? Burrard Street Bridge.
The best terrace in Vancouver? Chilli House Thai Bistro on Beach Avenue. Are there any more?
Three things you would like to change about Vancouver? Alcohol laws for restaurants, downtown bike paths and property taxes.
Cheap place to dine? Pho Tan.
Book you read? The art of stress-free productivity by David Allen.
Last place visited? San Francisco.
What terrifies you? Heights.
The cliché you are abusing? MDR.
If you could rename yourself? Noah.
Shoe of choice? Put on driving shoes.
Your ancestry? Chinese.
The best bar stool in town? Thai pink elephant.
Dumbest Buy Ever? The power plate.
The luckiest moment of your life? Birth of my children – all four.
The relatively normal item of clothing you would look the most ridiculous in? Bikini thong.
Talent you would like to have? Acting.
Musical instrument you would like to play? The drums.
Have you given up on sport? Football, at the age of 12.
Which game are you the best at? Ice Hockey. Started playing as an adult and currently plays for three teams. It’s my stress reliever!
Have you ever shot a gun? No.
Favorite Canadian city we may not have heard of? Pierrefonds in Quebec.
First album that made you love music? “Rio” by Duran Duran.
The only country you have no interest in visiting? Algeria.
The first three things you do every morning? Check Blackberry for emails. Check Iphone for @tweet mentions. Shower.