Samui Wining & Dining
Kitchen King
January’s ‘Chef of The Month’ is Khun Raden Kaew-Udon
at Beyond The Sea Siamese Brasserie.

 

Kitchen KingOur Kitchen King this month has been developing his craft for more than 25 years. And he has spent the vast majority of his career at some of Samui’s very best resort restaurants. Executive Chef, Raden Kaew-Udon, better known to everyone as Khun Dhen, now leads the brigade at ShaSa Resort & Residences on the south of the island. We caught up with him recently to find out more about his culinary style and life as a chef at ShaSa’s Beyond The Sea Siamese Brasserie.

 

JP: Tell us about your background please, Chef.

RKU: I’m originally from the Central region of Thailand but came to Samui as a young man to work. Initially, I was just helping out in a kitchen but as soon as I saw the kinds of dishes the chefs were making I wanted to know more. I took a keen interest and the head chef I was working for at the time gave me an opportunity to prove myself. And I haven’t stopped learning about food ever since; when you’re passionate about something you become immersed in it.

 

JP: Where have you worked on Samui?

RKU: I spent nine years with the Imperial Group at both the Imperial Samui Beach Resort in Chaweng Noi and the Imperial Boat House in Choeng Mon. After that I went to The Tongsai Bay resort and had a wonderful ten years there. I’ve also worked at Karma Samui (now Samui Beach Club), The Library and for the past year here at ShaSa Resort. Each move was about taking on more responsibility and learning from different chefs and I wouldn’t have been able to lead my own team without those experiences.

 

JP: Tell us something about ShaSa Resort & Residences.

RKU: It was built three years ago on the secluded Laem Set Beach area in the south of the island. After Lamai and Hua Thanon, coming from Chaweng, you turn off onto the 4170 and take the turning for the Tiger Zoo and Aquarium and then follow the road past the Butterfly Farm and ShaSa is on the left-hand side; it’s well signposted so you can’t miss it. We have 32 luxury one-, two- and three-bedroom suites and a beautiful beachfront villa, all with large outdoor patios and balconies. All the rooms overlook the ocean and we have three swimming pools including a hydrotherapy pool that’s used in conjunction with some of our spa treatments. It’s lots of fun and by having three different pools it’s ideal for couples on a romantic break and for families. And we have a kids’ club to keep the children amused whilst their parents relax. We also run Thai cooking classes which are very popular and we can design everything from a simple Thai menu for the amateur cook to more elaborate meals for those more comfortable in the kitchen.

 

JP: And tell us about Beyond The Sea Siamese Brasserie.

RKU: It overlooks the ocean and is a mixture of international fine-dining, southern Thai specialities and Thai-style tapas. The atmosphere is casual and lively and you should dress to eat! We open early in the morning with last orders for food at 10:30 pm. We serve snacks throughout the day, have Starbucks coffee, an extensive wine and cocktail list and happy hours from 5:00 pm until 7:00 pm. Sitting out on the restaurant terrace sipping cocktails as the sun goes down is the perfect way to relax before dinner. The view is spectacular and is one I never grow tired of.

 

JP: Can you make some recommendations for us from your menu please?

RKU: We have all the Thai dishes you might expect to see plus quite a number of local specialities. Try the Gaeng Liang Samui (clear vegetable soup with fresh prawns and aromatic Thai herbs); our Gaeng Prik Kraduk Moo (spare ribs in a red curry sauce with fresh chilies); the Yum Kiaw Tod Krob (crispy crab meat and prawns with a wanton salad, chilies, onion, shallot and tomato); and the Pla Makam (deep-fried whole sea bass dressed with tamarind sauce). As for international dishes, I particularly enjoy the Caramelized Hokkaido Scallops with chili jam and Japanese caviar; the Marinated Rack of Lamb with crushed rosemary herb, pine nuts, raisins and red wine sauce; and our Premium US Beef Tenderloin served with garlic spinach, chorizo, potato gnocchi and grand mustard white wine sauce.

 

JP: And you also have additional menus and events, tell us about them.

RKU: Our Thai tapas menu is very popular and is great for sharing and savouring lots of different Thai flavours with a glass or two of wine. There’re 20 tapas on the menu and the most frequently ordered dishes are the Pla Muek Tod (deep-fried calamari with chili mayo); Pu Nim Makam (spicy soft-shell crab with tamarind sauce); Hoi Shell Tod Kamin (deep-fried turmeric scallop); and Nue Yang Sam (grilled beef with peanut sauce and red and green curry). We also have more than 20 dishes on the kids’ menu, and have regular theme nights, such as the Fresh Seafood Barbecue, and special menus for a romantic dinner for two by the beach.

 

JP: So what’s a typical day like for you?

RKU: I’ll come in around 8:00 am to check on the breakfast service and have a chat with the team on duty. There’re 12 of us in the kitchen, although the working day is split into shifts. Most mornings I’ll go to the Muslim market in Hua Thanon where there’s fresh local seafood and Halal beef available every day. And then we get ready for lunch. I’ll take a short break in the afternoon to freshen up if I can, although we often run training sessions or have cooking classes during the day. And then it’s straight into dinner service and the focus is firmly on each and every plate that leaves the kitchen.

 

JP: Finally, Chef, what do you like to do to relax on Samui?

RKU: I’ll catch up with friends and usually end up cooking for them at home. They are often the first ones to try out my new creations before the dishes go on the menu. I think having a chef as a friend works very well for them!

 

Johnny Paterson

 


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