— Story —
—About our owner & head Chef—
Wiwat 'Ute' Klangruk
Owner & Head Chef
Herald Sun review - June 2017
What do you love about cooking?
I worked in the kitchen with my mum back in Thailand when I was young. Mum taught me everything she knew about cooking. Food became my passion as I got to watch people enjoy my cooking - it makes me so happy to see a smile on people's faces when they try my food.
Why did you want to open a Thai restaurant?
I’ve wanted to open a restaurant as long as I can remember to support the local community and show people the love of Jesus. Originally my plan was to open one near the beach in my home town in Thailand, but plans change! When we came to Melbourne my dream became to open a Thai restaurant here and use my knowledge and training to make an authentic Thai taste made with produce found right here in Melbourne.
Why 'Thai Ute'?
My Thai nickname is ‘Ute’. When I first came to Australia a friend of the family would call me ‘Kingswood' and it took a while for me to understand that this is a name of a classic Aussie vehicle - a ute. When I introduce myself to people now, I say ‘like driving a ute’ to help people get it.
I thought it was a fun play on words for my restaurant name and used a Thai classic vehicle, a Tuk Tuk, as my logo - making it a sort of Aussie/Thai fusion, just like I want my restaurant to be!
What brought you to Melbourne?
I was born in Southern Thailand, and my beautiful wife is Australian. We met and married in Bangkok, Thailand where I worked as a volunteer for my church, but moved to Melbourne a year later to be closer to her family and because she missed Australia.
What is your dream for Thai Ute?
I want my restaurant to be a place where people can experience real Thai food. I want to support local businesses in using produce found right here in Melbourne. But it’s more than that - I want to show the people of Melbourne the love of Jesus through my kitchen. I want to use my business to support those who need help and love. I would love to see Thai Ute grow as part of the local community and in the future be able to support those around us in any way we can, such as jobs, fundraising, and to help people to serve Jesus. I hope people will think of us as part of their family and think of themselves as part of our family; with good authentic Thai food, our own unique signature dishes with an Aussie/Thai fusion of flavour and ‘home’ style service.
Please come visit us and experience our food and family for yourself. I look forward to seeing you all soon!
At Thai Ute we cook from our heart.