I received my copy of Lao Roots Magazine, summer 2008 issue last week and saw that they did a scope on the Laocook Team, under ‘Cool Gigs’. Below is the article,
Name: Viengphranom Senathit aka Don Vienne Senathit
Employer: “Restaurante ASIA” at Fairplay Golf Hotel & SPA
Job Title: Chef de Cuisine
Location: Benalup, Cadiz, Spain
Duration: 8 years
I am in charge of the Kitchen Brigade that serves modern Laotian and S.E. Asian inspired dishes in one of the hotels gastronomic restaurants, a 5 Star Luxury Hotel & SPA that opened in 2005.
Before the opening, I was Chef at the company’s award winning beachfront hotel/restaurant in the nearby coastal town of Chipiona, serving similar foods. During this time, I designed the kitchens of six more of the company’s restaurants, including our current “Central Kitchen” which is more than 300m2, and one of the largest and most expensive of its kind in Spain. The Central Kitchen is the heart of our F&B (Food and Beverage) department and acts as the hub for the 4 restaurants of the hotel.
For “Restaurante ASIA”, I design the menus and desserts, order and control the stocks, train and oversee the staff, ensure that our strict Health and Safety and Food Hygiene levels are met and exceeded, control the Brigade working hours etc…(Oh, and occasionally I cook.)
How did you end up being a chef?
For the love of food. Being Laotian, I have found that food plays an enormous role in my society. Our get-togethers are based around food, in fact, any social gathering will in one way or another feature food. As soon as you walk into a Lao home, the first thing you are asked is “Have you eaten yet”, even our religious offerings show respect by offering foods to Monks and Spirits. I believe it is instilled in us, the basis behind to “lieng”, to offer nourishment.
I grew up surrounded by foods, more precisely, cooks. The focal point of our gatherings was always the kitchen, the heart of the home. My heart has always been in the kitchen, it is what I do best, because I love it, and to have it at the centre of my career is a blessing.
What are the perks of your job?
Getting to work with (and tasting) wonderful ingredients. Simple things like some lovely organic Baby Carrots or Vine Tomatoes, or exquisite items like Perigord Truffles and Beluga Caviar. There is a great sense of satisfaction when you have sent out dishes that people have enjoyed. Or when you have created from nothing to something interesting, that others find to be visually and tastefully pleasing.
What do your friends and family think of your job?
My family thinks it is great. My father was a chef in a top hotel in London for many years when I was younger, now my parents have their own restaurant business, as well as my uncles and aunts. I guess that they are proud that I have carried on in their footsteps. I will never forget the love they showered upon us, and endless hours they worked to provide us with a comfortable home. I am so happy that my family supported, and gave me inspiration for what I do.
I am also glad that the younger generations have embraced this career. I have been joined in the kitchen by my brother, King and also by family friends and their relatives.
Describe a chef’s typical day.