Samui Wining & Dining
Why Here?
What brought Bandara Resort’s Food and Beverage Manager,
Khun Somsak Sutajit, to Samui and why has he stayed?


Why Here?Lying by the pool or on the beach are what holidays on Samui are all about. And it can feel like time is passing by in slow motion. On the surface it can seem that everything happens with consummate ease and that your food and drinks appear with little effort. But that’s usually the sign of a well-trained and co-ordinated team. And that doesn’t occur by accident. We went behind the scenes of the highly acclaimed Bandara Resort & Spa on Bophut Beach to meet Food and Beverage Manager, Khun Somsak Sutajit.


JP: Hi Khun Somsak, can you tell us about your background please.

SS: I was brought up in Nakorn Si Thammarat in the south of Thailand and have worked in the hospitality industry for more than 20 years. After leaving school I wasn’t really sure what I wanted to do but I did know that I needed a job. Samui at that time wasn’t established as a major tourism hotspot so I went to Phuket which was only a few hours away from my home. Like everyone in this business, I started at the bottom and worked my way up.


JP: When did you first come to Samui?

SS: I lived and worked in Phuket at several different resorts and restaurants for nearly 15 years. And then, on Boxing Day 2004, everything changed when the tsunami crashed into the Andaman coast. I and many others who were lucky to escape with our lives moved to Samui to find work. It was clear that the recovery and re-building process in Phuket would take some time and while there was a great deal of sadness and regret about leaving, it was simply necessary. Most resorts on Samui will have staff that moved here in 2005.


JP: Where have you worked on the island?

SS: I’ve had positions at the Renaissance in Lamai, The Briza in Chaweng and New Star Beach Resort in Chaweng Noi before joining the team here at Bandara two years ago.


JP: You’ve obviously taken a liking to Samui, why have you decided to continue your career here?

SS: Samui is very different to Phuket. It’s smaller, has a real island feel and aside from the main tourist areas, it still has local people living and working as they always have. You don’t have to drive far from Chaweng or Lamai to find countless little coves, deserted beaches and some great local restaurants.


JP: Tell us about Bandara Resort & Spa.

SS: It’s a beautiful resort on Bophut Beach. More than half of the 17 rai of land is given over to tropical, landscaped gardens. There’re 122 rooms and 28 pool villas, a wonderful spa, three swimming pools, two restaurants and two bars. Our Chom Dao restaurant on the beach has terrific views around the bay and across to Koh Pha-Ngan.


JP: What’s a typical day like for you?

SS: In part it’s about planning ahead and also partly about making sure that all of our guests are happy at any given moment in time. There’s a team of 64 in the Food and Beverage department split between the kitchens, restaurants and bars and my making sure that they know what is happening around the resort each day, and that they have the resources to do their job correctly, is essential. We’re on the go from daybreak with breakfast service, have a busy lunch and afternoon attending to guests around the pool and Chom Dao restaurant is always popular in the evenings. As well as our extensive dinner menu we also host theme nights with beach barbecues, regional Thai cuisine and live dance shows and entertainment. Our theme nights change throughout the year so it’s best to pop in or give us a call to find out what’s going on in a particular week. Bandara is also a popular place for weddings and we have around 25-30 ceremonies each year on the beach. We make sure every event is very special whether the couple are here by themselves or have a hundred guests. A great deal of planning goes into each wedding so that the day goes perfectly for the couple and they have the time to enjoy it and not worry about the details, that’s our job.


JP: Can you make some recommendations for us from the Chom Dao menu please.

SS: We’re very fortunate to have a fantastic Executive Chef, Khun Bem, here at Bandara. He’s worked all over Thailand as well as in Europe, Africa and for the Saudi Royal Family. He and his team are continually developing ideas and concepts and it’s best to have a drink and take some time to browse through the menu. My personal favourites are the ‘tartar of tomato and avocado served on a bed of buckwheat tabbouleh’ to start with and the ‘char-grilled Australian lamb chops topped with pine nut crust’ as a main course. Our most popular dishes tend to be freshly grilled seafood and steaks and the beach party nights draw in large crowds, I’d recommend booking in advance.


JP: What one skill or attribute do you emphasise to your team as of paramount importance?

SS: Attention to detail. Once you’ve completed a task then check it again, and again. If you allow the little things to slip it will only create larger problems later on. Getting things right every time isn’t being pedantic; it’s simply part of the job.


JP: When you get some time to yourself what do you like to do to relax on Samui?

SS: I like to tinker around with my car and understand what goes on underneath the bonnet. And I cultivate orchids at home; they are very beautiful flowers that do need time spent on them to get the best results. And I do find it very relaxing, it clears my mind.


Johnny Paterson


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