Thai restaurant group Mango Tree has announced its expansion program on its fifth anniversary in the Philippines. At a media briefing at its Bonifacio Global City High Street outlet, restaurateur partners Pitaya Phanphensophon and Trevor MacKenzie revealed the company’s aggressive projected growth in the country by 2020, as well as those across 15 countries in Asia, the Middle East, and the USA.
Zooming in on the Philippine market, McKenzie said, “Our customers here are among the most sophisticated in Asia. Diners in Manila are very discerning not only in their taste for Thai food but in their demands for style in presentation and experience in our restaurants.
Originally from Canada, McKenzie is currently the worldwide managing director of the group.
Meanwhile, as CEO, Phanphensophon is very hands-on, always finding time to put on the apron and experiment with something new. Hence, Mango Tree constantly introduces innovative concepts and delicious twists in its menu.
“My love affair with Thai food started in earnest when I was in boarding school abroad. Myself, and my fellow Asian students missed rice from Thailand. So it all started with a small rice cooker, soya sauce and sweet Chinese sausage. Later I added mushrooms and chicken before moving on to more elaborate recipes,” he related.
Phanphensophon has his own cookbook aptly titled, I Am Not a Chef, But I Sure Am a Good Cook. He elaborates on his philosophy for cooking and writes, “Cooks who love what they do make the best food. That’s why I empower our cooks in our restaurants to nourish their passion for what they are doing, and to let the love shine through.”
He also hosts a monthly television cooking show, teaches cooking classes in his R&D kitchen, and regularly holds dinner parties where he cooks for his family and friends.
For its anniversary, Mango Tree has partnered with Miss Possibilities Foundation, a non-stock non-profit organization, to which it will donate a portion of its revenues in support of children with special needs (Down Syndrome).
McKenzie said that they believe in the importance of connecting with people, and giving back to the communities where they do business.
One endeavor that they want to pursue in all the countries they operate is “Climb To Change A Life,” an ambitious yet meaningful endeavor to prepare and assist disabled children to climb a mountain.
The project had already been successful in Thailand where McKenzie’s own son assisting a girl in the climb. According to the proud father, his son said that the experience changed his perspective in life, and now appreciates the fact that his limbs are working well. His son also enjoyed the fulfilment of seeing the happiness of someone who conquered fear to accomplish an unthinkable feat.