Voted the healthiest restaurant in 2014, Camile Thai has recently decided to move away from cookery classes in favour of cooking demonstrations. I spoke to Brian O’Sullivan, the man behind Camile’s focus on nutrition, about the new consumer trends in health, expanding the number of Camile restaurants, and new dishes on the menu.
Brian explained that the cookery demos are not for profit but are to allow Camile to “Get more involved in the community and have more of a presence. We wanted to engage more with customers.” He also said that it was to give back to community.
The move away from the cookery classes came because the cookery demonstrations can accommodate more people across more branches, and therefore reach more people. The plan for the demonstrations include most branches holding them once a month, on a Saturday morning, with the possibility of holding them every two weeks in the future. Attendees will be treated to various demonstrations on how to cook things such as traditional Vietnamese style rice paper rolls, traditional Thai soup, green curry and ramen.
Recently the Phibsboro branch of Camile has also expanded to a full waiter service restaurant. The first of its kind in Ireland, it offers a regular sit down dinner but also a Thai inspired brunch with beer and wine available. “This is not our main business model - it is a slight departure from our usual,” explained Brian. “Depending on how the restaurants in London and Dublin go – if it works we could expand more.”
There are always new dishes and changes on the Camile menu. At the moment they have a Rosanna Davison reimagined vegan pad Thai, and the takeaway regularly collaborates with celebrities, such as Kevin Thornton and Roz Purcel, to create new one-off and healthy specials. There are plans over the next few month to work with a GAA star and others to create new healthy offerings, but these are “All top secret at the moment”.
Camile is serious about redefining takeaways. When asked about recent trends in healthy living and the demand for consumers, Brian said “People are becoming a lot more educated about what they eat. There is a shift towards a better lifestyle and away from processed food. People have a lot more information about what they eat.”