Dining - page 2

Chef’s recipes, gourmet restaurants, exotic flavours, even street food

Discover Gourmet Cuisine in Koh Samui

in Destinations/Dining by

Thailand’s leisure island of Koh Samui holds a priority position on the bucket list of every chic traveller. With Mick Jagger, Richard Branson and the Beckhams drawn to the divine destination, the island’s enviable reputation for barefoot luxury is set in stone.

Powder-soft white sand beaches dotted with swaying palm trees and a glittering turquoise sea set a spectacular scene.

Private coves and hidden beaches abound, and can be easily discovered by hiring a boat or a luxury yacht. Alternatively, you can marvel at exquisite marine life and colourful coral by putting on your snorkelling gear and heading into the blue water. 

Exclusive holiday villas are always the preferred style of accommodation among the rich and discerning, and many already own a private property on the island. However, the well-versed traveller knows the joys of simply renting a private luxury villa to experience the ultimate holiday. 


Personal Chefs

Chefs attached to these luxury villas are unique professionals with a vast repertoire of dishes fulfilling all dining moments – snacks, kids’ choices, a broad western menu, specific diets and five-star flavours.

Order a stunning poolside seafood barbecue, a formal degustation feast for 12 people or an intimate dinner for two at a perfectly set table on the beach at sunset. It is all possible and seamlessly executed.

Chefs enjoy showcasing regional specialities and dazzling guests with their culinary magic. Start the day with a trip to the local wet market, a great cultural immersion, and launch into a crash course in Thai cooking.

Learn to identify and select fresh ingredients to be pounded into the paste that you will turn into a creamy and lush coconut curry. Or as the afternoon heat sets in, climb into a comfy hammock with a cool signature cocktail and have a chat with the villa manager about possible trips to one of the pretty waterfalls in the hinterland, a traditional sea gypsy village or a visit to one of many Buddhist temples whilst your personal chef surprises you with yet another Thai masterpiece.

Dining at any one of our luxurious Koh Samui villas is a gourmand’s dream come true. It is a pleasure to leave behind the stresses of locating a touristy stall in town,

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Chef du jour: Villa Ban Suriya

in Destinations/Dining by

A huge wooden deck nestling a lavish swimming pool and spilling out onto the palm-shaded garden is the focal point of the absolute beachfront Villa Ban Suriya, located along Lipa Noi Beach in Koh Samui. Each of the six elegant bedrooms has large glass doors, leading onto the pool deck or lawned gardens. The villa features lavish living spaces, both within the air-conditioned pavilions and outdoors, surrounded by tropical beauty.

Guests at Villa Ban Suriya are spoilt for choice, with their own gym, a spa room, an astonishing sunken library which allows underwater views into the large infinity-edge pool, and an outdoor projector screen for movie nights. It’s the perfect villa for swimming the day away and counting the stars in the evening–making for a luxurious and relaxing  vacation in paradise.

We sat down with the villa’s Chef Max, who told us a bit about his culinary journey.

Elite Havens: Hi Chef Max, do you helm the kitchen here at Ban Suriya?

Chef Max: We have five chefs who rotate between nine villas, so I have to move around.

EH: What do you like to cook?

CM: I like cooking Thai food. But many chefs here specialise in Thai food, so I try to be different. If you really ask me what I like to make—it would be sushi, which also happens to be one of my favourite foods.  I used to work in a Thai restaurant, but they offered sushi on their menu.

EH: For how long did you work there?

CM: I worked in the restaurant for five years, but I was the one in charge of sushi for three years.

EH: Tell us about your culinary journey before you joined the restaurant.

CM: My journey is unique as I was a private chef with a Russian family and lived around the world.

EH: Where did you stay?

CM: They have homes in Cypress, Austria, Moscow, and they also have a villa in Thailand. So, I would follow them around and got to stay in so many countries around the world.

EH: That sounds intriguing. What did they like to eat?

CM: My sushi was their absolute favourite thing to eat.

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Chef du jour: Villa Minh

in Destinations/Dining by

Designed by Paris-based architect Arte Charpentier, Villa Minh is a six-bedroom villa with breathtaking ocean views. Many of Phuket’s sights are within easy reach, just between the Kamala and Patong beaches. Perched on a hillside, Minh has been built to preserve its gorgeous coastal setting.

The bedrooms are magnificently decorated and connected both by stairs and a lift. The villa’s lavish living areas are accentuated by art and antiques. The 17.5 metre pool with built-in jacuzzi is illuminated by the beautiful night sky. You’ll want to restore your senses in the spa room and luxuriate in the wonderful living pavilions. 

Villa Minh is perfect for entertaining, whether for a casual barbecue or a formal dinner. We sat down with Chef Thietan to get a glimpse into what goes on in the kitchen.

Elite Havens:  Hi, Chef, can you tell me what you’re currently making?

Chef El: Spicy Pomelo Salad. We will also make Panang Curry. Chili paste is very important for Panang Curry and we make chili paste too. 

EH: Please tell me about yourself.

CE: I am El and I am the chef of Villa Minh.

EH: How long have you been cooking?

CE: For 15 years.

EH: How did you start cooking?

CE: At first, I was not a chef.  I used to help the chef in food preparation and presentation and that’s how I learned to cook.

EH: And how did you become the chef here?

CE: A friend recommended me.

EH: And what do you love to cook? Is there a particular dish that you love to cook?

CE: Pad Thai. I’ve received a lot of compliments from my guests. They say my Pad Thai is not too spicy and it is unique.

EH: Ok. And what else do you like to cook?

CE: Pineapple fried rice. I like to put in a lot of ingredients so there’s a combination of sour, sweet and spicy flavors. That is a typical traditional Thai flavor combination. Some of the other chefs adjust the taste for foreigners. I like to stick to the authentic taste. But I can adjust the spice level for our foreign guests.

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Thai Food, A Fabulous Fusion of Flavours

in Culture/Destinations/Dining by

Food is so central to Thai culture that in Thailand you’re more likely to be greeted with this phrase, which means “Have you eaten yet?” than with a “How are you today?”

In fact, Gin Khao Yung? literally translates to ‘Have you eaten rice yet?’ In Thai cuisine, as in many Asian countries, rice is considered to be such an important part of the diet that it is a synonym for food generally.

Aromatic, full of variety and always beautifully presented, Thai cuisine appeals to all tastes with its harmonious balance of the four fundamental flavours: salty, sweet, sour and spicy. Each region of Thailand has its own food specialties and style, influenced by the country it borders – so northern Thai food will share similarities with Laos and Myanmar, while the rich coconut-flavoured curries of the south borrow from Malaysian dishes. Add to this the culinary heritage of the Chinese, Indian and European settlers who have had their own influences over the centuries, and modern-day Thai cuisine is a true melting pot of flavour and deliciousness.

True Phuket cuisine – which can be hard to seek out among the better-known dishes such as Pad Thai (stir-fried noodles) and Som Tam (green papaya salad) – is possibly one of the most extreme examples of this fusion of styles. Heavily influenced by Chinese Hokkien, Malaysian and Indonesian foods, as well as Khmer cuisine from Cambodia, flavours are rich, complex and fiery, but also light, elegant and restrained.

This curious mix of flavours can take a bit of getting used to, but are certainly worth investigating. In essence, the further south you go, the more predominant ‘spicy’ becomes. In the South, a dish that isn’t spicy will be considered bland ‘Deeruang‘. South Thailand cuisine also has a strong emphasis on seafood with its proximity to the Gulf of Siam and the Andaman Sea.

In Thailand, sharing food is a reason to celebrate. Eating together is incorporated into many social and religious occasions. Indeed, many Thais believe that eating alone is bad luck. And by the end of a meal every last grain of rice should be eaten, as throwing away food is also considered bad luck, likely to enrage Mae Phosop, the Thai Goddess of rice.

Meals in Thailand are generally eaten family-style,

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Chef du jour: Villa Rodnaya

in Destinations/Dining by

Villa Rodnaya is a modern four-bedroom holiday retreat with superb views over Nai Thon Beach on the tranquil northwest coast of Phuket. Found on the hillside within the exclusive Malaiwana estate, Rodnaya has been built to please families and young groups. It’s brimming with facilities and features, such as a children’s playroom, a media room and an amazing 18-metre pool with a safety barrier for younger kids. Stroll down to the beach, or stay in and fall in love with Rodnaya’s stylish design and tranquil surrounds. And here’s a secret few know – the villa even has its own music studio, available only to professional musicians on request.

The open-plan kitchen at Villa Rodnaya has stunning views of the beautiful Nai Thon Beach, and we chatted with Chef Gear as she shared her favourite recipe with us. Here’s a sneak peek at what keeps the guests coming back to Villa Rodnaya – Chef Gear and her Grilled Chicken Thai Red Curry.

Elite Havens: What is your background?

Chef Gear: I didn’t plan to become a chef, but it was my destiny. I took a cooking class at high school, and at that moment I knew exactly what I wanted to do for a living.

EH: Did you train in the culinary arts?

CG: I do not have formal culinary training from a cooking school but it is my passion that has brought me here. After taking cooking lessons at school, I would cook for my family daily, and they are the hardest people to please!

EH: What qualities should one have to be a cook?

CG: It is so important to maintain hygiene and ensure that your work area is kept tidy.

EH: What did you cook for us today?

CG: Grilled Chicken Thai Red Curry.

EH: Why did you choose to make this dish for us?

CG: It’s my signature creation. A lot of my guests ask for it repeatedly and say that it is the best they have had in Thailand.

EH: What is your speciality dish or the flavours you like to cook with?

CG: My favourite dishes are Massaman Beef, Green Curry Chicken and Grilled Chicken. And of course,

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