Uniting the Pacific and Thailand with culinary sizzle: Indo-Fijian chef Shailesh Naidu is now cooking up a storm at the Outrigger Koh Samui Beach Resort in Thailand
KOH SAMUI, THAILAND – The coconut island of Koh Samui is about to enjoy the culinary skills of a guest chef from Fiji who brings 18 years’ mastery of cooking South Pacific fare.
Shailesh Naidu, the executive chef of the Outrigger Fiji Beach Resort, started a six-month stint as ChefnB (overseeing kitchen and F&B) at Outrigger Koh Samui Beach Resort on 3 June.
By the end of the month, visitors to the Outrigger will have the option of two or three signature Fijian special dishes, in addition to the resort’s acclaimed range of Thai and international options.
Shailesh is most proud of his Indo-Fijian curries. “It’s been 140 years since the first Indians arrived in Fiji. Spices are still very highly used in Indo-Fijian kitchens. I enjoy cooking curries with aromatic flavours with my coach and critic [and wife] Rita, beside me.”
There are culinary parallels with Koh Samui. “I also love making seafood slow cooked in coconut milk with tropical island flavours such as lime, chilies, coriander and coconut as the main ingredients.”
He has been to Thailand before and admires Thai food. “It’s world renowned and highly regarded. It’s one of my favourite cuisines as the ingredients are the same or very similar to the food I grew up with.”
Shailesh says he’s also ready for the cultural challenges of working in Thailand where ‘greng jai’ [deference] and ‘my pen rai’ [never mind] are workplace realities.
“I come from a similar background with ‘greng jai’. In Fiji people are very humble to speak out. They are often too nice to say ‘no’.”
He believes ‘my pen rai’ won’t be a problem either. “It’s like we Pacific islanders say, ‘Set, no worries,’ or ‘It’s OK bro.’ So I’m sure I’ll be in the same boat as my Thai brothers and sisters.”
While adding a few Fijian special dishes over the next six months, Outrigger Koh Samui Beach Resort will continue its popular Thai cooking classes at its Blue Fire cooking school. The resort also recently introduced 16 in-resort activities – many of them food and beverage related – for guests.
For further information on dining and relaxation at the couple-friendly all-pool 52-villa Outrigger Koh Samui, click here.
THAI DISCOVER OFFER
Outrigger Koh Samui Beach Resort is offering a THAI DISCOVER web exclusive offer, comprising daily breakfast for two, Thai cooking class for two, Thai set dinner for two, and airport transfers. Five-night minimum stay required. Email email@example.com to arrange airport transfers at least 48 hrs ahead of arrival.
ABOUT THE OUTRIGGER KOH SAMUI BEACH RESORT
A private sanctuary to rejuvenate and reconnect with a loved one, the Outrigger Koh Samui Beach Resort offers an absolute beachfront experience for couples. The property is located on secluded 300-metre Hanuman Bay in the northeast of the island 10-minutes from Samui airport (but away from its flight path). Surrounded by spectacular granite headlands and swaying palms, the resorts creates an atmosphere where guests can find true serenity. With only 52 villas and suites on the property, all with a private cool plunge pool and sundeck, each feels like a personal sanctuary. Choose from suites and villas including Garden Pool Suite, Ocean View Pool Suite, Oceanfront Pool Suite, and Garden Pool Villa. For mouth-watering culinary fare, Edgewater, the Blue Fire Cooking School and the (swim-up) Wet Bar offer the best of informal holiday dining. The Navasana Spa is designed for pure relaxation. Discover Thai culture through Signature Experiences such as Thai cooking lessons, fruit carving, batik making, leather etching and a Thai kick-boxing lesson. More at Outrigger.com
ABOUT OUTRIGGER HOSPITALITY GROUP
For more than 70 years, Outrigger Hotels and Resorts has charted a journey of discovery – expanding from Hawaii to premier resort destinations in Fiji, Thailand, Guam, Mauritius and the Maldives. The privately held hospitality company currently operates and/or has in development 38 properties and over 7,000 rooms – inviting guests to ‘Escape Ordinary’ with authentic Signature Experiences and the Outrigger DISCOVERY loyalty program. Outrigger’s multi-branded portfolio includes Outrigger? Resorts, OHANA Hotels by Outrigger? and Hawaii Vacation Condos by Outrigger? while also managing select properties from top international hotel brands including Embassy Suites?, Best Western?, Wyndham Destinations and Hilton Grand VacationsTM. Find out more at Outrigger.com or visit @OutriggerResorts on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter.