chef du jour

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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Chef du jour: Niseko Gourmet’s Sushi Master

in Destinations/Dining by

Niseko Gourmet complements your adrenaline-packed snow adventure holiday with an exceptional dining service, ensuring you are replenished and re-energized daily. All of your culinary requirements are catered for, from grocery shopping to gourmet food delivery and even in-chalet private chef dining experiences. A favourite with both locals and visitors, Niseko Gourmet has satisfied discerning palates for more than twelve years. Chef Kamada-San is a sushi master and an integral part of the Niseko Gourmet success story.  Starting as a 15-year-old and with a career spanning more than 50 years – Chef Kamada-San is credited as a founding influence on the Niseko food renaissance. As one of Niseko Gourmet’s longest-standing chefs and its sushi master, it was an honour to chat with him and savour his signature dishes!

Elite Havens: Hi, Chef Kamada-san. When and how did you make the move to Niseko?

Chef Kamada-san: When I was working in a sushi restaurant in Sendai (early 1972), a diner walked up to me and said that his friend needed some help at his restaurant in Kutchan. I decided to take the opportunity and made the move, where I worked for 3 years and coincidentally also where I met my wife. She was a loyal customer, and, from memory, I think it was me who said the first words to her. After we got married, we both went on to open our own sushi restaurant in Kutchan and operated it for 35 years.

EH: How did you come to work at Niseko Gourmet?

CK: I think it was meant to be, that at the time my restaurant shut, I met Tess Stomsky (the founder of Niseko Gourmet) and then began serving quality sushi to the customers of Niseko Gourmet.

EH: What makes you happiest at work?

CK: When my customers are at their most content, I am too. I also just love making sushi. The process and the pursuit of perfection gives me joy.

EH: What are you thinking of when you make each piece of nigiri?

CK: I am always focused on my customers and giving them the best food possible.

EH: What are some of your most memorable experiences?

CK: Working with different staff members from different countries.

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Chef du jour: Villa Amanzi Kamala

in Destinations/Dining by

The first thing you see upon stepping inside Villa Amanzi Kamala is the grand and luxurious 180-degree view of the ocean. Surrounded by modern furnishings and a large expanse, you feel as though you’re floating above the water in your own private paradise.

Below you is the games room in which a large boulder the size of a hill rests – untouched from the original place Mother Nature left it in. This forms part of the villa, and leaves you breathless. On the 2nd floor, aptly-equipped bedrooms fill a large hallway. You will want for nothing.

But the real draw of the venue is the modern kitchen, where your chef will be able to make you anything you ask for. We interviewed Villa Chef Thietam to get his insights into cooking in this beautiful villa.

Elite Havens:  Hi, Chef Thietam. How did you learn to cook?

Villa Chef Thietam: I started when I was 18 years old; I’m 35 now. I was working with people who knew how to cook, and I learned to cook from them and then I started cooking on my own. And later on, I worked in hotels so I learned to cook from there too.

EH:      What did you prepare for us today?

VCT:     Thai beef salad, crab meat in yellow curry, and crispy pork.

EH:      Why did you cook these dishes for us today?

VCT:     These are our most requested dishes. Our villa guests usually ask me to prepare these.

EH:      Are these your specialties?

VCT:     In addition to these dishes, my specialty is actually fusion food. Usually when you go out, you   will see things like prawn or chicken Pad Thai but I like to make scallop Pad Thai. It’s not traditional. We don’t really have scallops here, we have to import them. So when people serve scallops here, they’re usually just sauteed with garlic and pepper. But me, I like to cook them Thai style, so I use them in Pad Thai instead of prawns.

EH:      What do you do in your free time? Do you eat out?

VCT:     I like to fish and I like to look for fresh ingredients and then I like to go home and make new          

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Chef du jour: Villa Jia at Jivana Villas

in Destinations/Dining by
Thai style wonton

Villa Jia, part of the exclusive Jivana Beach Villas estate, is a luxurious fully staffed beachfront villa located on the pristine white sands of Natai Beach in rural Phang Nga, just 25 minutes from Phuket International Airport. With six ensuite bedrooms strewn across vast lawns, coupled with sweeping views of the Andaman Sea, Villa Jia is the perfect escape for those who appreciate aesthetic design paired with stunning natural beauty.

In Villa Jia’s impressive kitchen at Jivana Beach Villas, Chef Koong cooks up a simple but super tasty Thai-style wonton or เกี๊ยวทอด, Kiao Tod in Thai.

Elite Havens: What is your cooking background?

Chef Koong: My cooking knowledge comes from on-the-job experience and I have learnt an array of new techniques from other chefs that I have worked with. I didn’t go to cooking school but I’ve learnt from my work experience and through trainings at the workplace.

In-villa chef

EH: What do you think makes a good chef/cook?

CK: Fresh ingredients, hygiene and the most important factor would be the taste of food. A good chef must be fascinated with the art of cooking, always seeking to improve, using new techniques.

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

CK: Villa guests always remark that they are the best wontons they’ve ever had.

EH: Can you tell us how your cooking adds to the villa?

CK: Guests who are impressed with our food, will spread the word to their friends and family. My goal is for guests to feel compelled to come back and stay with us at the villa, allured by the flavours of my food.

Wrapping Thai style wonton

EH: What should guests expect from you when you cook for them?

CK: Taste, great presentation, and food served on time.

Chef Koong’s Fried Wontons with Chicken

Thai style wonton

Only takes 20 mins to make, including wrapping. Super crispy and yummy.

Makes 8 – 10

Ingredients

  • 500g ground chicken
  • ½ tsp Sesame oil
  • ½ tsp Salt
  • Ground black pepper
  • Wonton wrappers
  • 3 Pandan leaves cut into thin strips
  • Water for sealing
  • Oil for frying
  • Thai Sweet chili sauce

Directions

Step 1: In a bowl,

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Chef du jour: Villa Amarelo

in Culture/Dining/Families by

At Elite Havens, each villa’s menu showcases an extensive range of Asian and western delights to cater to every guest’s tastes, but of course each chef has his or her own specialties that shouldn’t be missed. 

The stylish six-bedroom escape Villa Amarelo, part of the Sava Beach Villas estate, seamlessly melts into the white sands of Natai Beach, less than half an hour’s drive north of Phuket airport. Featuring a 25-metre pool, a garden gazebo, private chef and large indoor and outdoor living areas, Villa Amarelo makes for a memorable holiday and wedding destination on the shores of the Andaman Sea, the ideal spot for a family holiday, dream wedding or group soiree.

In the kitchen at Villa Amarelo, which has stunning views of the swimming pool and the beautiful Natai Beach, Chef Lek cooks up a traditional Thai starter Goong Sarong, ‘wrapped prawns’. It looks great and tastes even better.

Elite Havens: What is your cooking background?

Chef Lek: I worked as a housekeeping attendant at Villa Saanti, but the villa didn’t provide a chef. Therefore, I needed to learn cooking to help out the owner. Later on, I worked as a comis chef at Akyra Hotel for a year and a half. There, I learnt how to cook many kinds of western dishes.

EH: What do you think makes a good cook?

CL: Ensuring that all the ingredients are fresh and of good quality. A good eye for detail and being able to adapt to different styles and requests from guests.

EH: What did you cook for us today?

CL: Goong Sarong, which is whole prawns wrapped in rice noodles.

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

CL: Thailand, especially the south, produces amazing fresh seafood, and the prawns are a must-try if you visit Phuket. Local prawns and local Phuket noodles together make a great-tasting and wonderful-looking dish.

EH: What is your specialty dish or the flavors you like to cook with?

CL: I love local Southern Thai food. It has such amazing flavors. I really love to cook Southern Thai Red Curry with beef.

EH: Can you tell us how your cooking adds to the villa?

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