Samui Wining & Dining
Kitchen King

Khun Pamon, the new Executive Chef at Bandara Resort and Spa's Chom Dao restaurant, is excited about what the future holds.

 

4Having a job you love, and being able to do it on a paradise island like Samui, is no mean feat. But that's exactly what Executive Chef Pamon Pheangnoo has managed to find. Working in beachside hotels is nothing new to him, as before he took up this position at Bandara Resort & Spa three months ago, he did a stint at the prestigious Radisson Blu Plaza Resort in Phuket, and prior to that worked on Samui for five years. And whilst he really enjoyed his time in Phuket, he's glad to be back on Samui - he feels like here is home.

    'Bandara' is a luxury resort located in the quiet and cosmopolitan Bophut area, famous for the street dubbed, Fisherman's Village, a low-key hangout with atmospheric restaurants and beach bars. The resort aesthetic of Bandara is very much in keeping with traditional Thai architecture, but is also modern at the same time. Quaint little pathways lead you around the plot, and from the main reception you can either take a stroll down on foot to reach the beachside eatery, Chom Dao, or just hop one of the resort's buggies. The restaurant is famed for its Saturday Thai nights, which feature a Thai buffet and barbecue, as well as traditional Thai dancers to keep you entertained.

      Relatively new to the kitchen at Chom Dao, Khun Pamon is keen to incorporate his unique style of cooking. Fusion food is his speciality, and he isn't afraid to try new things. But he doesn't go mad or overly avant garde with his cooking, he simply likes to make dishes look Western while staying true to Thai flavours and ingredients. Presentation is very important to him, as it's a huge part of whetting the customer's appetite, and he likes to impress! The focus of the new menu he has implemented is not so much one particular style or another, there's a real mixture of traditional Thai dishes, Western ones, and of course his special fusion creations.

      Khun Pamon remembers that as a child his mum was always a fabulous cook. Every night she could whip up fresh local Thai food for all the family. And being fed so well as a child inspired him to go on to take up cooking as a profession. But passion alone wasn't enough to launch him into the competitive realm of hotel kitchens, so he enrolled himself in culinary school in Bangkok to refine his talents. Now he loves returning home to his family's home to cook for his mum and all the family. He shows them new, international foods that they haven't seen before, and uses modern techniques that were previously unheard of in the Thai suburbs from which he hails. And the family are really blown away with his fusion style of cooking - and he's very proud to show it to them.

       He actually manages 35 staff in total, that span Chom Dao and the other restaurant at Bandara, Leelavadee. Chom Dao means to watch the stars, and Leelavadee is the Thai name of the frangipani flower. Being Executive Chef at Chom Dao, Khun Pamon has creative freedom over the menu and the food he serves. And that's his favourite part of the job - being creative. Experimenting and coming up with novel dishes is what he lives for, and luckily the rest of the team at Chom Dao are very supportive and enthusiastic about his creations. Mixing things up now and again keeps everybody on their toes so they stay interested in their job. Being a motivational team leader is something that Khun Pamon has learnt over the years from being the Executive Chef at numerous top restaurants. And a happy team is a hard working team

      Personal favourites from his new menu are the tuna lemongrass salad, and deep fried sea bass with tamarind sauce. There are a lot of healthy options on the menu, and that's a conscious choice - food that's good for you makes you feel good, and that makes happy and healthy customers! Also, when you're in a hot country there's nothing worse than feeling full and bloated after a heavy meal. A light but satisfying meal, on the other hand, helps revitalize and energize you - then you can take on the rest of the day, or evening, with gusto. He has also recently implemented a tapas-style menu too, which covers a variety of cuisines, from American to Mexican. That way people can pick and choose the dishes they want, and share them in a sociable fashion that's perfectly suited to a beachside, holiday eatery.

      The focus at Chom Dao is on good food and good service. Two things that Khun Pamon has implemented with surprising ease. He's excited about what the future holds for him and for the restaurant, and proudly talks about the fantastic teamwork that's taking place at the restaurant. But I guess that comes with a chef so experienced in running a successful kitchen.

 

Christina Wylie


 


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