Wat a Great Idea
Award-winning San Antonio restaurant cooks up new Cambodian concept
It takes bravery to admit when a dream is finished, but that's exactly what one of San Antonio's most dynamic chefs has just done.
Chef Pieter Sypesteyn and his partner in both business and life, Susan Sypesteyn, are changing the culinary focus of their award-winning Cookhouse. Beginning in early 2021, the New Orleans-inspired eatery will transform into Golden Wat Noodle House, a restaurant specializing in Cambodian cuisine.
"We’ve grown a lot over these last six years and the direction for our company and team has diversified," the Sypesteyns said in a statement. "Deciding to transition Cookhouse to Golden Wat has been bittersweet, but we have outgrown our original dream and are looking forward to exploring the new opportunities ahead.”
Golden Wat will specialize in Cambodian dishes, a culinary tradition that the Sypesteyn team began experimenting with this summer while toying with Cookhouse's menu. In August, the team launched Golden Wat from the Cookhouse kitchen, offering to-go lunch and dinner dishes.
In an August interview with San Antonio magazine, Susan Sypesteyn said the new Golden Wat concept was an homage to her mother, who ran a noodle shop in Cambodia before the family moved to California. Earlier this year, Susan Sypesteyn spent weeks in the kitchen with her husband and the Cookhouse crew teaching them about the Cambodian cuisine — and language — she grew up with.
“English is not my first language so for me it’s so easy to go back to speaking Khmer, the Cambodian language,” she told San Antonio. “It’s fun to be able to share that with them and teach them the different terms.”
In the new year, San Antonio diners themselves will have the opportunity to learn about Cambodia's culinary traditions. After a weeks-long goodbye to Cookhouse, culminating in a special New Year's Eve champagne celebration, complete with an three-course, prix-fix menu, the space will reopen as Golden Wat Noodle House at the beginning of the new year.
Tickets for the finale go on sale on the Cookhouse website this week, and the Mistletoe Avenue restaurant is launching special dinner events throughout the month, including an eight-course meal on December 10. Thursday's dinner is already sold out, but make sure to check back often for other events.