Shoot the Chef entry 2015

Maggie's Thai, a dining institution in Erskineville, was destroyed by fire in November 2014. Maggie Sang Song spent her childhood in southern Thailand and she is a 3rd generation chef, following in the footsteps of her mother and grandmother. In 1986, at the age of 18, Maggie migrated to Australia with her mother. They opened Maggie's Thai 25 years ago and it quickly became popular for it's traditional Thai cuisine and hospitality. In this portrait I wanted to portray Maggie's culinary genaealogy and connection to culture through her work as a chef. Also, and most importantly, I wanted to portray Maggie's lifelong resilience, from migrating to Australia at the age of 18 with her single mum, to rebuilding a thriving and landmark restaurant business (rising like a Phoenix from the ashes). Maggie's Thai has been sorely missed by her many regulars while it's been closed for the rebuild. At one point the front window of the restaurant was covered in well wishes from concerned patrons. When we went to the worksite to do this shoot, people were coming to the door to ask Maggie when she would be reopening ... Maggie's Thai is now open for business.