Samui Wining & Dining

4K ensures your eating experience on Samui is memorable.


17When I was growing up and I realised my Mum was making one of my favourite meals, I always felt happier somehow, more excited about my evening. These meals were never anything over the top or by any means luxurious, they were just good, honest food cooked with bundles of love.

      It is a well-researched fact that food affects our mood. Countless studies have been done showing how too much sugar can make you feel edgy and tired, or how low blood sugar can easily cause you to feel short-tempered or irritable. If you continuously nibble on high-sugar snacks or foods, your blood sugar level spikes and when it does eventually drop, it can cause feelings such as fatigue or grumpiness. A deficiency in essential fatty acids can also make you irritable, depressed or even violent.

      A study was held in the UK at Aylesbury prison. They selected a group of young men and increased their intake of vitamins, minerals and essential fatty acids. The number of violent offences they committed in the prison fell by a staggering 37%. The chief inspector of prisons was quoted as saying that he is now “absolutely convinced that there is a direct link between diet and antisocial behaviour, both that bad diet causes bad behaviour and that good diet prevents it.”

      The sight (or even the smell) of food releases the hormone, dopamine, which is nicknamed the ‘pleasure’ hormone. It focuses our attention, makes us think more clearly, feel happier and even move faster. Once we start eating, serotonin (a neurotransmitter) kicks in making us feel even happier still and less stressed. We start to relax and our mood improves. Are you convinced yet?

       Science aside, you know that just looking at a dish can evoke several emotions. How do you feel when you’ve been served a meal which looks like it’s been thrown together before the chef rushes home to prepare for a night out on the town? You’d be forgiven for feeling disappointed or even angry. Especially if you’re on holiday, far away from home and you’ve saved long and hard for your trip. Long hours at the office, pointless meetings, office politics and red tape and finally, you’re on the holiday you’ve been waiting for and you’re served a sloppy meal. No, that’s just not right. Disappointment and anger are strong emotions and have no place on anyone’s holiday, least of all on your holiday to Samui. You need a dish which you can see has been carefully prepared to ensure that not only are you smiling on the outside, but on the inside too.

         Enter Julian Fernandez, currently executive chef at 4K (pronounced ‘fork’), at X2 Resort just south of Hua Thanon. Born and raised in Colombia in South America, he has studied and worked as a chef both there and in Turkey, in the city of Istanbul, honing his skills and developing his relationship with food. Like most chefs, Julian is passionate about food; he is a keen traveller and has collected tips, tricks and various experiences from his travels around the world, which he brings to his kitchen. He has an adventurous streak and is always eager to explore, venturing into various areas in different countries, untouched by tourism. He enjoys connecting with the locals and, of course, learning about and sampling the local ingredients and different dishes.

         So what has Chef Julian got to do with nutrition studies, essential fatty acids and people’s moods? Julian is aware of how eating good food can make or break someone’s holiday or how good food can turn your day from a potentially bad one into a great one. Besides his passion for food, he has a deep desire to ensure that all dishes that come from his kitchen make his guests happy. Talking about his many travel experiences, he compares his kitchen to a small country. It has a ruler and heads of state and ultimately, they all work together as a team to make sure that everyone who visits feels like they’ve had a great experience which they will remember forever. The food prepared is likened to a journey - it starts as an idea, is perfected by the chef, is prepared and cooked in the kitchen, is artfully presented and finally served on the plate to the guest. Its journey is complete.

         As part of his role as executive chef, Julian not only trains his staff members with regards to their cooking skills, but goes one step further. He teaches them the understanding and importance of genuine hospitality and customer satisfaction. He teaches them not only how they can utilise and make the most of the ingredients available to them, but more importantly, how to show respect for both the ingredients and the guests eating the food. He wants them to understand that showing people how much care has gone into the preparation of their food makes a lasting impression. For him, it is essential that his staff understand the role that both food and taste play in making or breaking a guest’s holiday. Currently, he has a team that works well together, they have combined their knowledge, experiences and skills and the end result is a productive, genuinely caring team which goes out of its way to make sure the food served is as memorable as the holiday itself.

         After all, Julian says, everyone deserves to be happy, especially if they’re on holiday.
         We couldn’t agree more!


Colleen Setchel


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