Growing up in Bangkok, Thailand, Sue Manatad learned to cook from the very best – her mother. Together, they conjured up delicious and unique recipes, curries, and sauces in the kitchen, and those dishes would eventually become the hallmarks of Orchid Thai Cuisine, a family-owned and operated restaurant with locations in Lake Mary and Winter Park. Orchid Thai Cuisine is the perfect place to awaken your taste buds and try something new.
“Everything is made from scratch, and all the herbs are homegrown from my garden, like Thai basil, lemongrass, and Thai chili peppers,” says Sue. “We want to always give our guests an enjoyable experience and promote things that are unique to Thai cuisine.”
As head chef, Sue is priming her son Richard, who runs Orchid Thai’s day-to-day operations, to learn the subtle and delectable nuances of her home country’s cuisine.
“My mom’s love of cooking has also become a huge passion of mine,” says Richard. “I’ve learned so much from her, and we enjoy creating seasonal specials and being creative in the kitchen. We also encourage our guests not to overlook the traditional Thai dishes offered and try something they may not be used to. The experience is much more lasting and enjoyable.”
One glance at the restaurant’s mouthwatering menu items, and you may not know where to start. Orchid Thai Cuisine offers a variety of small plates, salads, soups, Thai curries, specialties, noodle and rice dishes, gluten-free menu options, and a divine dessert menu.
“We make everything fresh and rich in flavor,” says Sue. “Some of my favorite dishes are the Whole Red Snapper in Three-Spice Sauce and the Mussels in Lemongrass Ginger Broth. Both are very healthy and served with fresh vegetables.”
The new Lake Mary location features a full, refurbished bar built by Richard himself, who is also quickly becoming the restaurant’s wine connoisseur. His affinity for wine pairing is best highlighted through Orchid Thai Cuisine’s intimate Chef’s Table experience, where guests can make a reservation to try one-of-a-kind, off-menu creations combined into a meal of five-courses, each paired with the perfect wine complement.
“We just love what we do every day – the whole family has come together to run the business,” says Richard, whose sisters Annie and Gibby and father Lucky all contribute to the operation in one form or another. “Family is so important to us, and we want our guests to know that. We want to connect with them through food and give them the best service.”