01 May 2020

The Head Chef at Soi.38, consistently named among Australia’s best Thai food, has joined forces with two other renowned South Australian chefs, Paul Baker & Emma McCaskill, to set up <a href=
The Head Chef at Soi.38, consistently named among Australia’s best Thai food, has joined forces with two other renowned South Australian chefs, Paul Baker & Emma McCaskill, to set up Chefs on Wheels. Delivering food straight to your door from the best restaurants in the city while keeping our hospitality industry alive.

Terry Intarakhamhaeng

Head Chef & Co-Owner at Soi38
Graduate Certificate in Environmental Management and Sustainability

An encouraging upside of the disruption the COVID-19 crisis has produced is seeing all the ingenious and enterprising ways a number of our University of South Australia Alumni have respond to the chaos and uncertainty.

The thoughtful and entrepreneurial – and often compassionate – solutions we have seen is something every business owner and alum around the world can learn and take inspiration from.

One of these people is University of South Australia Environmental Management and Sustainability alum, Terry Intarakhamhaeng.

If you’ve ever strolled down Pulteney Street on a Friday or Saturday night – or any day of the week for that matter – you may have spotted a storefront opposite Rundle Mall bursting with avid restaurant goers and the unmistakeable smell of authentic Thai food emanating from Terry Intarakhamhaeng and Daisy Miller’s Soi38.

These city streets today, however, are virtually empty and the silence marks a dark and uncertain time in our once thriving hospitality and food industry.

When the COVID-19 shutdown measures came into effect across the country, our favourite cafes, restaurants, pubs, and bars had to react quickly and adapt to the rapidly changing landscape.

Among those acting swiftly to the new normal is UniSA alum, Terry Intarakhamhaeng, Co-Owner and Head Chef of Soi38 on Pulteney Street, consistently named one of the country’s best Thai restaurants and Winner of Best Thai Restaurant at the National Savour Awards for Excellence 2019.

When the mandated shutdowns came into effect, Terry joined forces with two other celebrated Adelaide chefs – Paul Baker of the Botanic Gardens Restaurant and Emma McCaskill of Sparkke at the Whitmore and previously Penfold’s Magill Estate – to establish Chefs on Wheels.

Chefs on Wheels is an ingenious collaboration between the group of chefs and a wholesale distributor to deliver a collection of dishes and food products from Adelaide’s favourite restaurants, chefs and brands, with the simple ethos: ‘if Adelaide’s chefs can’t feed you in their restaurants, let them feed you in your home’.

Terry at work in the kitchen at Soi38, Pulteney Street, Adelaide.
Terry at work in the kitchen at Soi38, Pulteney Street, Adelaide. Source

“We all feel passionately about good food and good hospitality and when we looked at the reality of our restaurants closing, we still wanted to do what we loved anyway – cooking great food from great producers for as many people as possible,” says Terry.

“The joy of going to a restaurant is that you can relax while someone else does all the work and you catch up with the people you are eating with.”

“While the Chefs on Wheels team aren’t going to come over and help you with the dishes, we do hope that our meals are easy enough, and special enough, that you still feel the magic of sitting around a restaurant table a little bit.”

The concept was originally designed to make sure suppliers and producers were looked after, but also so that frontline health workers, as well as vulnerable communities and the homeless, would have affordable, quality meals that would be easy to prepare.

The meals are either picked up at their kitchen in Glynde or delivered directly to your home by staff that would normally be serving you or working hard to manufacture your favourite products.

The enterprising initiative has been such a success more dishes and chefs are being added to the line-up each week, with pastry enthusiasts and City West neighbours, Abbots & Kinney, Hahndorf’s Comida, K&R Produce, and a new drink menu, joining the most recent offerings.

Diners at Soi38 revelling in a delicious meal before COVID-19 lockdown measure were implemented.
Diners at Soi38 revelling in a delicious meal before COVID-19 lockdown measure were implemented. Source

Growing up in Thailand’s Khao Yai National Park, conservation and environmental sustainability was always an unmistakeable passion and gift for Terry.

After moving to Australia following a 10-year career as a tour guide, specialising in the conservation of birds, Terry worked for Zoos SA during the day and in Thai kitchens in the evening, on nights he wasn’t studying Environmental Management and Sustainability at UniSA.

Then, after scoring a place on the opening team at Jock Zonfrillo's famed, Restaurant Orana, and also working in the kitchen of Jock’s street-food restaurant, Street ADL, his love of food began to materialise as a legitimate career path.

“Working with Jock introduced me to native Australian ingredients for the first time. Jock’s passion for both food and environment changed the way I thought about my career,” he says.

“After my experience there, I saw how my knowledge of environmental science and sustainability could work hand in hand with my love of cooking. Soi38 came from mixing my career path with my culture and history.”

His time at UniSA and immersion in the Environmental Management and Sustainability teachings still ring true for Terry and his team at Soi38, influencing both his food and restaurant’s practices.

“My menu at Soi38 used to change every three weeks to ensure we were using seasonal produce. We chose to do this because of the amount of water that non-seasonal produce uses by comparison to in-season produce.”

“We also use as much local produce as we can, with the exception of our rice, which we choose to import from Thailand due to issues around water use in rice production in Australia. I also use native and wild ingredients where I can.”

“Our menu is very traditional Thai, but it doesn’t make sense to use water buffalo in South Australia for example, when Kangaroo serves a very similar purpose.”

Terry’s Khao soi noodle soup made from Soi38’s new Recipe Boxes.
Terry’s Khao soi noodle soup made from Soi38’s new Recipe Boxes. Source

With such experienced and illustrious chefs backing Chefs on Wheels it’s no wonder the growing collection of dishes from Adelaide's favourite restaurants, has been providing the city with a little reprieve during these unprecedented times.

“So far the response has been so much better than we could have anticipated,” says Terry. “We are proud of what we create, but to hear people talk about how much they have enjoyed the quality, the flavour and the options, has been incredible.”

“We have had our hiccups – it has only been a month after all – but we are proud of how each of us has worked together passionately and positively to continue to improve the product and service.”

So, what does Terry recommend for your next ready-made meal delivered directly to your door from Chefs on Wheels?

“Currently my favourite dish is the Beef Massaman curry.”

“I love this dish because of the producer I get to work with. Tom Bradman, from Nomad Farms, grows Black Angas and Murray Grey beef on his farm in Finniss and uses Regenerative Farming practices across his property.”

“Tom also grows the chickens that we use in the restaurant in the same way, and his neighbours, Kat and Luke, run Farmer Falkai where we get our pasture raised eggs.”

“Working directly with producers, especially producers who are so passionate about the environment is a privilege that I am very grateful for.”

We want to know if you – or another UniSA alumni you know – has responded to the COVID-19 crisis in an inspiring or enterprising way, just like Terry and the Soi38 & Chefs on Wheels teams. Send through your stories or tips to jacinta.mazzarolo@unisa.edu.au.

SOI38 Alumni Discount

Soi38 is now also creating cook-at-home recipe boxes you can order from their website here.
The brilliant team at Soi38 have been generous enough to provide all UniSA Alumni with a special discount too.

You can get a 5% discount off of all orders using the code UNISA5 at checkout!

Chefs on Wheels

To order your own ready-made meals from the state’s best restaurants through Chefs on Wheels visit their website here.

Order by 5pm Sunday each week for delivery. Pick up also available from their Glynde kitchen Wednesday, Thursday or Friday via click & collect.

The team have also launched an initiative together to provide meals to those experiencing homelessness through the Chefs on Wheels kitchen, delivered to those in need by the Hutt St Centre.

Make someone’s week by purchasing a $12 ‘Motel Meal Kit’ with your next Chefs on Wheels order here.


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