Words by Richard Cornish Images Supplied
When Mornington Peninsula caterers Brad Holtz and Roonie Saisombat found themselves without functions to feed they started exploring Roonie’s vast repertoire of Thai dishes. The husband and wife met in Roonie’s cooking school in her native Thailand.
Brad, an American chef, fell in love with the vivacious Roonie and followed her to Australia where they started Finesse Catering. Bored with Australian cuisine Roonie started playing in the kitchen.
I wanted something that enlivened all the senses, something that smelled as good as it tasted, something that had crunch and texture.
She started playing with ingredients in her wok, frying off garlic, shallots, kaffir lime leaves, chillies and coconut. She put them together and had something that was very very good.
‘When she added the black currants for sweetness, we knew we had something truly great,’ adds Brad. They were working at a private club and would slip their favourite customers the odd jar.
‘We soon had a side hustle!’ says Brad.
They kept their Coconut Chilli Crunch low key and continued their catering. Fast forward to the hospitality apocalypse of 2020 and Brad and Roonie needed an income.
They developed their new Lek Lek Ban range to include two other Thai sauces for the modern Australian Palate. The Ginger Nam Pla sauce is balanced between sweet from palm sugar, sour from fresh lime, deep from a touch of fish sauce and zingy from fresh garlic, ginger, and chilli. Drizzle over salads or brush over lamb before grilling. Lek Lek Ban Sweet Chilli Sauce is the real deal with sweet and sour thanks to lime juice and palm sugar, a little chilli heat and the crunch from daikon.
We have not seen such good quality and original products for quite some time. The demand from Mornington Peninsula locals has seen the production of the handmade sauces increase to fortnightly production days but as word gets out it looks like these two are going to get even busier.
They are slowly moving back to catering and have developed a Thai street food-inspired menu for more casual gatherings on the Peninsula and surrounds.
WHAT: Lek Lek Ban Thai inspired sauces
WHEN: Available now
MORE INFO: Lek Lek Ban