Tropical Rains and Sunsets

The rain pouring out of the purple skies in tropical fat drops this morning, woke me up. Lightning and thunder at the same time shaking the cabin, a fantastic spectacle. I hurried into the shower, the outside facility and stood in the warm water under the open sky. My days are long in the kitchen, yesterday again over fourteen hours and no ease in sight. We are in preparation for opening ceremony, invited the monks to bless the our hotel and arranging a themed three day event in two weeks. I am very excited to have this chance having never prepared food for Thai monks before.

All employees will dress as rural villagers and the food will be traditional Thai food. I am planning a lunch on little Bamboo Island, fifteen minutes across the Tang Leam beach where we are located. I wonder how this all will work out, considering we are still understaffed and it seems difficult to receive requested info from prior events. As much as I like a good challenge, I don’t like preparing proposals that later are deferred to already existing menus and well documented events. Our new F&B manager is making a great effort to adapt to his position. A difficult task indeed and I shall assist him with all his questions and needs. He seems to be a very nice and friendly fellow.

My friend Larry is visiting from California and having a great time. Its fun cooking for someone I know and I enjoy the “normality” of being able to speak and be as I am. Here, in this isolated little world of Phi Phi I have little privacy and so far I had no chance or time to escape a little. Yesterday I prepared to have a day off (today), organized myself a trip to Phuket for one day but had to cancel in the last minute; after a busy dinner event last night, I figured it would be a disaster to leave the current staff on their own. They are simply not ready yet. I had asked one of the Pastry chefs, currently in Phuket on her scheduled vacation to join me in a personal invitation to a Chocolate Exhibition at the Amari Hotel in Plantong Beach. When HR heard about it, she demanded I request her permission before planning my private time in Phuket. I’m still amused about it. Next time I will write down a provisory schedule of my intended activities from the morning shower to the last thing I do before I fall asleep, to make sure I have her full approval when enjoying my time away from work…

My cold kitchen staff is making leaps forward with carving technique. They have discovered how happy I am seeing them snip and chop away on fruit and vegetable instead of simply hanging around aimlessly. Guests love to see their talent displayed. We are finally receiving regular delivery of fresh lobster and they are a hit with the guests. I prefer to do very little to them, liking the simplest of preparation since the best way of eating crustaceans is poached or baked with butter. I split them in half. Then I sauté in butter: chopped garlic and parsley, finely diced shallots and tomato concasée (peeled and diced) and layer the lobster meat with this sauce before baking them in a hot oven for twelve minutes. I nap the meat with the same sauce again (yes prepare it again fresh), this time add salt and a dash of ginger and chili and white pepper (after baking). This prevents the meat from loosing all the liquid in the oven. I accompany the dish with potato gratin and stuffed tomatoes.

The first order of the “Sunset Menu” I created last week arrived this morning. A romantic tete-a-tete dinner for two. First, cocktails on the boat cruising through the many islands while sunset watching and Bamboo BBQ dinner at the beach. I will explain this complicated preparation in a next blog.  There are choices between romantic dinner prepared in your villa or a private chef preparing your main course at the beach front and even the fire pit at the beach while launching in Thai style watching the moon rise. Oh, it’s so good to be in love!

Snap – back to work!

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