Samui Wining & Dining
In The Loop

Dining on Samui is never better than when The Samui Culinary Circle’s about.


17 The Samui Culinary Circle (SCC) is all about fabulous food. Monthly meetings keep its members at the top of their game. Composed of 55 of Samui’s top food professionals, this non-profit organisation thrusts Samui into the spotlight as a premier culinary destination.

    Don Lawson is the President of the SCC, and a foodie extraordinaire. As Executive Chef at the high-end Anantara Bophut Resort and Spa, he knows good food when he sees it – or tastes it, should I say. Over the years his hard work has been internationally recognised with numerous awards, including the highly respected Amadeus Thai Hospitality Award for ‘Best Executive Chef’ in 2007.

      So, with the more-than-capable Don at the helm, the group is comprised of Samui’s top executive chefs, food and beverage managers, restaurateurs and suppliers, who come from all over the world. And they’re all genuinely good friends too, which is a good thing, because they have to see each other at least once a month!


Not only is the SCC about sharing
information, it’s also about having
its members learn new skills.



       The SCC has a number of functions, but a key one is to discuss supply and demand on the island. It’s important for the members to talk about pricing and organise group buying. By helping each other, they’re helping themselves as well. Networking is a big part of being a success in the food and beverage world, especially on such a small island like Samui, where a few friends go a long way – and from the other angle, a few enemies can cause real problems. So this lot maintain good relationships with one another, which works out to be good for business and peace of mind.

       Not only is the SCC about sharing information, it’s also about having its members learn new skills. Training up younger members is central to the SCC ethos, Don tells us, “Developing culinary skills is a large part of group’s function. And also recruitment. It’s a small island so it’s inevitable that staff will move about between the hotels and restaurants. We help each other with that, with personal recommendations and such.” The food and beverage scene on Samui is fairly incestuous in the recruitment respect. But that works out well if all the venues have respect for one another and maintain good communication. That way nobody leaves a job with ‘bad blood’ and every new recruit has local knowledge – and is already ingrained into Samui’s culinary scene.

       The monthly events are hosted at a different member’s venue each time. So for instance, if it were Don hosting then it would be at Anantara Bophut Resort and Spa, but other events in the past have been held at Rocky’s Boutique Resort and The Cliff Bar and Grill, for example. All the members come from across Samui to enjoy a meal lovingly prepared by the chefs at the host’s venue. And trust me, this will be the restaurant’s finest fare – after all, it takes a lot to impress these guys. Additionally, they’ll enjoy some delicious wine selected especially for the occasion.

       But it’s not all about indulging in good food, the SCC also has a conscience and extends what they can to those in need. The group is well-known on the island for supporting a variety of causes that deal with both educational and environmental issues.

       In recent months the group has moved forward into the technological realm, with footage of its events being put up on YouTube. And that’s all thanks to the group’s new PR recruit, Khun Jean. Now when you jump on to YouTube and type in ‘Samui Culinary Circle’, you’ll get a whole load of search results. Click on any one of them and you’ll be taken to a slideshow of images taken at that particular SCC event. These videos are a great way to find out more about the members, and also get an idea of what the SCC events are like.

       Working together is the best way to stay at the top of your game on Samui, Don explains, “Networking within a group of chefs is key, it’s a small island so we need to help each other find the best suppliers and get the best products.” It’s about strength in numbers and not being fickle or selfish. Wining and dining the group every month also means all the members gain an appreciation for each other

       All in all, the SCC is a group of like-minded people striving to keep Samui’s culinary scene in tip-top shape. The members want to dish up the best food possible in their restaurants for those lucky enough to be on this paradise island – and all the while, they’re making lifelong friends. And as the group expands its reach, Samui’s culinary scene gets better and better, and it’s up to you and me, the diners, to taste the benefits – after all, the proof of the pudding is in the eating.


Christina Wylie


Copyright 2017 Samui Wining & Dining. All rights reserved Siam Map Company Ltd.