There are many winery principals, wine writers, and residents of Sonoma County, California, who have been wondering… When will Chinois Asian Bistro re-open? Chef and proprietor Debbie Shu shares the past and the future…
Chinos Asian Bistro, 186 Windsor River Road, debuted October 2008, as a contemporary Pacific Rim dining concept, by owner and restaurateur Debbie Shu. Chinois (pronounced as “Shin-wah,” French for Chinese) focused on traditional Chinese and South East Asian cuisine; namely from Singapore, Malaysia, Taiwan, and Thailand. Debbie’s culinary background: she graduated from San Francisco State University, having earned a Bachelor of Science degree. She went on to attend the California Culinary Academy (CCA), an affiliate of Le Cordon Bleu College of Culinary Arts in San Francisco.
On June 24, 2018, Debbie Shu’s Chinois Asian Bistro experienced a catastrophic flood. This unexpected happening, while waiting for renovation to begin, created un-thought-of opportunities for not one, but two famed chefs, including Debbie’s own story:
- During down time from Chinois, with 10 successive Michelin star recommendations and 10 similar Zagat ratings,” Debbie began to reflect on her true passion of cooking with a more varied menu. As her catering side continued to expand, she also found herself really enjoying being more free to travel, cooking her own creations (versus traditional family recipes), loving the independence, and thriving on a more personal level with new groups of people.
Because Debbie is well-known, word of mouth traveled regarding the flood and reconstruction.
Important to note: Debbie Shu has admired Sunee Sopant’s culinary successes, since Sunee has operated Thai restaurants in the Sonoma Valley, beginning in 1989. It’s both the flavors of Sunee’s Thai cuisine and her positive background that Debbie has enjoyed over the years.
- Sunee Sopant ~ Culinary background of operating successful for the last 24 years.
- Opened her first restaurant in Sonoma Valley, in 1994 to high acclaim.
- Then she opened 599 Thai Cafe.
- Most recently she owned Bangkok 9, also in Sonoma Valley.
With a desire for a new challenge in the Windsor area, and given that Chinois is in the beginning process of being completely rebuilt, perhaps Debbie would consider an opportunity for both of them? If one doesn’t ask, one will never know, and so Sunee asked Debbie. After careful consideration and much soul searching, Debbie Shu agreed to allow Sunee Sopant to be the new restaurateur at the Chinois Asian Bistro location. Meanwhile, Debbie plans to help Sunee settle into her new location as an ambassador for a few months, travel more as a personal chef and caterer, and enjoy all that life will bring to her in her new life’s chapter.
Sunee Sopant: “I’m very excited to be part of the reconstruction for Debbie’s Shu’s restaurant location. It will be reflecting my own design and cuisine. It’s just a great opportunity for me to introduce the flavors of Khum Koon Thai Cafe to the Windsor area.”
Debbie will also be helping Sunee in the reconstruction for what Sunee envisions, as Debbie is also the owner of this building. “Both of us want each other’s business ventures to be very successful. I not only look forward to a refreshing, new start, but I also want to see Sunee continue to keep this restaurant location as one held in high esteem.