Celebrating Local Chefs: John and Pui of Thai by Night

After John Guattery and Pui Wudhapitak met in Washington DC, they dreamed of opening an eatery that served burgers during the day and Thai in the evenings. Both had experience in the restaurant business.
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Photo by by Jan Reagan

After John Guattery and Pui Wudhapitak met in Washington DC, they dreamed of opening an eatery that served burgers during the day and Thai in the evenings. This idea came about because both had experience in the restaurant business. They looked for places to open this restaurant around DC, but ultimately decided to return to where Guattery is from: Canandaigua. That is how their restaurant Thai by Night came to be, and it has become known as a place where seasonal Thai cuisine and a focus on community shine. We hope you enjoy John and Pui’s answers to our Finger Lakes chef Frequently Asked Questions!

Edible Finger Lakes: Could you please describe to us your favorite creation?
Maybe not our favorite but a delicious something we have been working on recently, Moo Tod or as we call it Tailgate Pork .. marinated crispy fried pork strips with sticky rice and jaew. [It’s] used to make for tailgating at football games …[we’re] thinking of offering it for home Bill’s games…buy it by the pound … eat it by the
bucket.

EFL: What do you love most about your job?
Working with and serving dishes made out of beautiful Finger Lakes product[s], and of course, our customers who we wouldn’t be here without and who have supported us through the last 4 years.

EFL: Where do you work now and where have you worked in the past?
Right here at Thai by Night … we both are long-term restaurant veterans with many years of experience who met and spent time in DC before moving to Canandaigua.

EFL: When did you first become interested in farm-to-table cooking?
We both have always been interested and driven by locally grown ingredients from my childhood time in my mother’s garden, my time in Southern California, and Pui spending time in markets in Bangkok with the freshest ingredients and the most amazing fruit.

EFL: How does where you work now utilize local and seasonal ingredients?
We change our menu frequently, sometimes daily—we let the product of the season drive our menu. We also only offer Finger Lakes wines. Why look elsewhere when we have so many delicious wines available here that go so great with Pui’s culinary creations?

EFL: Could you please name a few local food producers you work with now or have worked with in the
past?

Howell Farm, Bostrom Farms, Washburn’s Farms, Lucky Dog Farm and Stony Acres Farm … we are [also] going to start working with Abbey Road Farm in Honeoye.

EFL: Why do you think utilizing local and seasonal ingredients grown and produced in the Finger Lakes is
important?

Two reasons: Locally grown produce is fresher and tastes better and also to support local growers so that we continue to have this beautiful abundance of food.

EFL: What’s on the top of your mind right now?
Getting in touch with local producers to discuss what they will be growing this season and a tentative timeline of when it will be available.

www.thaibynightny.com/

Celebrating Local Chefs is a weekly column that recognizes the work, talent and commitment of Finger Lakes farm-to-table chefs, and how their craft enhances their communities. If you know a chef who you’d like to see featured, please email info@ediblefingerlakes.com. Check out more Celebrating Local Chefs articles here.

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