When you’re moving to these new cities, do you have challenges translating what Toro is to you to those different places?
Oringer: Absolutely. When we went to Bangkok both of us were shocked when we started cooking over there, making things for the staff. Like the tortilla española, which is the most famous tapa in the world. We made one for the Thai people, and…
Bissonnette: I was so excited!
Oringer: Yeah, and they took one bite and nobody said anything! Nobody went back to it. We were curious, asking each other, “What’s going on here?” And we talked to them and they said that the tortilla basically has no flavor to them. Something so elemental to Spanish cuisine. So we said, “OK, we’re going to have to adjust things for this market a little bit.” And then we ended up adding a black garlic aioli, fried shallots, chives, and crunchy potatoes on top. We had to make it a lot more of a flavor bomb because they’re used to so much flavor in all their food.
Bissonnette: That’s just one example. There were a multitude. It’s interesting -- dining out with friends in Bangkok, we realized that there’s definitely a craving for more punch, like Chef said. And it’s not necessarily more heat; it’s more salt, more texture, more sourness, more sweetness…
Oringer: More acidity. You know, their food is so unique to that part of the world. You go to Hong Kong, and you can eat in 50,000 different kinds of restaurants. Bangkok is still… To be a Spanish restaurant, you kind of have to poke around a little bit. But the beauty of it is the hotel chefs back in the day -- the Robichons, and those famous guys who opened up restaurants over there -- they were able to source some great ingredients from Europe, Japan, and other places. So we’re serving oysters from Brittany that are better than any oyster you can get anywhere. Same with jamón ibérico and things like that.
Bissonnette: But you can’t find kosher salt in the entire country.