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October 15, 2019 welcome [member login]
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Amy Chanta

Amy Chanta

In the early ‘80s, Amy Chanta arrived in Australia with $300 in her pocket. Two years later she had enough money for son Pat and daughter Palisa to join her. By then she had started working in the kitchen at U-thong in Cammeray, one of the city’s earliest Thai restaurants.

After five years at U-thong she moved to McDonald’s in Cremorne to improve her English and learn management systems.

In 1989, Chanta and a Thai friend opened the first Chat Thai in Liverpool Street, Darlinghurst. “We would come home from school and there'd be nobody home but there'd be a big pot of food on the stove," says Palisa, now 30, remembering how her mother toiled around the clock to establish the business. The Darlinghurst restaurant failed but Chanta was undeterred. She opened Chat Thai in Randwick in 1993, which earned a huge local fan base, and followed that up with outlets at The Galleries in George Street in the city and at Manly Wharf.

By 2006, when Chanta was offered the lease on a rundown shop in Campbell Street, Haymarket, son Pat had graduated as an architect. Now 32, he put a contemporary face on the Chat Thai brand, which most recently opened in Westfield Sydney. Palisa and her husband, Matt Anderson, are now also part of the business. "The pull of a family business is strong," says Palisa.

Chat Thai continues to be family owned, buzzy street food eaterys that are cult favourites.