Asia Pacific MD Caroline Hsu led a three-day regional summit last week.

After two days of discussions, brainstorming, and yes, a “few” PowerPoint presentations, day three gave new meaning to the phrase, “If you can’t take the heat, get out of the kitchen.” Breaking into four teams, participants cooked a traditional four-course Thai meal:

  • Tom Yum Goong (Spicy Prawn Soup with Lemongrass)
  • Som Tum Thai (Spicy Green Papaya Salad)
  • Gaeng Massaman Gai (Chicken Curry in Coconut Milk)
  • Bua Loy (Rice Dumpling with Coconut Milk)

The shot below captures Chef Muybueno in action, explaining to Agency leaders how the fish sauce plays off the tamarind juice in creating the perfect dressing for the papaya salad.

For those linguists out there who are familiar with Spanish, you’re thinking the Chef’s name, “Muybueno,” means “very good” in Spanish. Apparently “very good” in Thai doesn’t have the same ring to it.

The next photo shows (left to right) Stephanie Yang, Miranda Lee and Caroline with their papaya salad.

The soup proved a greater challenge, though. The team of (left to right) Nicholas Chan, Shingo Nomura, Iku Remi Pratama and Marc Sparrow joined by Chef Muybueno were quick to point out that they mastered the challenge.

The greatest challenge came with the main dish — the chicken curry — where the timing of when to add the coconut milk after the chicken cooked in the oil and massaman curry paste determined the success of the dish. All teams managed to plate a tasty entrée though the team of (right to left) Lydia Lau, Cole Lv and Syreeta Mussante were particularly pleased with their dish.

As for the rice dumplings in coconut milk, we learned that it’s not easy to roll uniform balls of dough the size of a marble.

So it turns out that these leaders could take the heat, staying in the kitchen to the very end. As for the chef’s hats, the vote was unanimous to not wear them at work.