A CHANCE meeting on a minibus sowed the seeds for the Wyndham Street Thai. Rosemary Lee, the restaurant's chef-patron, gave advice about stops to an architect, which later led to an introduction to Glenn Kerrigan, her future business partner. ''Cooking is my life,'' Ms Lee said, and her passion and enthusiasm for the subject quietly simmers through within minutes of meeting her. Born in Hong Kong, she left when she was six for Toronto, and its range of international restaurants were a great culinary stimulus. After completing her training in Canada, she worked as a chef in Germany, France, Australia and Thailand. It was chance that brought her back to Hong Kong to cook. Returning to visit relatives, she found herself involved in setting up Beaches bar and restaurant in Stanley. Then starting her own food consultancy, she happened to catch that particular minibus. For Ms Lee, cooking goes in fashions and trends. At the moment she feels the West is looking to the East for new ideas and inspiration. ''French cooking has evolved, it's run through the haute, to the nouvelle, to rediscovering the regional, though all chefs should have a basic knowledge of French cooking,'' she said. Why a Thai restaurant though? Having grown up in a Chinese cooking environment, Chinese would seem a more natural choice but Ms Lee feels people are well-acquainted with Chinese cuisine. With Thai, the herbs, flavours and textures provide a lot more scope. ''I want to do something different, you won't find many Thai restaurants in Thailand that offer the same choices as the Wyndham Street Thai,'' she said. ''The sweet-sour flavours, the crispy textures all allow me to experiment, dishes such as rack of lamb in green curry sauce which combine the traditional Thai green curry with the more Western lamb.'' There are no Thai chefs at Wyndham Street Thai, not a conscious decision but ''a Thai chef might be less likely to break with traditions and find it harder to adapt to new ideas''. Ms Lee admits she is ''continuously learning about food and wants to bring people something new''. In Hong Kong, Thai cooking has been associated with cheapness and Ms Lee is finding she is not only re-educating people's taste buds but their preconception of price. She insists on the best quality ingredients, fresh coconuts rather than tinned coconut milk, and makes her own curry pastes rather than using packet pastes. She also imports many of the vegetables from Thailand. With the addition of an excellent wine list to complement Thai dishes and surroundings more akin to the neighbouring art galleries - there's not a smiling elephant or Buddha in sight - it is like no other Thai restaurant in town. When Ms Lee says she's got a few things on the backburner she isn't just referring to the latest dish in the kitchen. Keen to be at the forefront of the latest trends, she could start another restaurant, give cook lessons, write a book, but whatever, it will definitely be food related.