Last weekend

My adventures on Phi Phi Island have come to an end. Heck, it was incredible and I grew a whole inch during the last four month. I experienced working with an incredibly talented kitchen team and enjoyed many good laughs and foremost the world famous Thai hospitality. The few ugly moments with HR are soon forgotten and I am filled with many new ideas, recipes and foremost I have made new friends, possibly for life.

Would I do it again? Heck, yes! I am looking to find a new job and certainly in the Asian world. Two days ago was my birthday and I celebrate it as a farewell party with my loyal staff. They gave me a watch I proudly wear.

If any of you ever travel to the South of Thailand, hop on a ferry or rent a sped boat and come to the Laem Muang Beach where Zeavola is located. You will find the teachings and “touches” of my cooking and if lucky enjoy a moon rise or one of the many colorful sunsets I have come to cherish. It is hard to part from the white sand beaches and the friendly souls that have made my stay here so enjoyable. Thank you all involved!

In a last generous draw I convinced Richard Quest to visit us this weekend and hopefully he will shoot a nice little plug-in for CNN. One last dagger to the hip from HR; she threatened me to cancel my work permit, forcing me to leave Thailand before I receive my last salary. Although a return ticket was confirmed in my name, HR now claims that is not true. I guess their quarrel will go on to the end; what for?

Wow, time rushes by and like the waves of an ocean carries us on. Back in Los Angeles I will have to adjust to city life again, find the rhythm of fast life and a different chaos… The good and healthy Thai cuisine and the fresh air will be missed. Maybe I should go to china Town and buy me a wok. Although we have all the food available in the city, the fact I bought life squid and ate it a few hours later has changed my appreciation for fresh sea food for ever.

I will have to visit Lou’s memorial and spend a minute with him alone. I still miss him terribly. He would be such a joy to invite for a first dinner back home and talk his head full until dawn.

My mom is sure glad I come back into her neighborhood, since traveling at her age is a burden and Thailand is now too far away. Maybe my return to Los Angeles will be short and I find new employment far away California soon again. Next week I will place the Executive Journal (edited) in my blog, so you all can read up on the details of my working in Zeavola, trust me – it will be fun!

Thank you for the many fun letters I received. I will maintain my Chefs blog and keep you updated on my next journey,  Hugs Raphael

Happy 4th of july

I miss the celebrations of Good ol’ America.  This is the day I usually enjoy the most of all festivities and celebrations we have nowadays. But here in Thailand it feels like any other day. Half around the world most people here don’t even know its Independents day. I had to learn this morning that the life of Columbus is none existing here on Phi Phi. He could have as well circled past India (if he would have made the same terrible calculations the “right way” around) and ended up here – think about the consequences for history!
My work here in Thailand might soon come to a conclusion. I was asked to write my own assessment but instead expressed my disappointment. So far a reaction is missing; I wish someone would simply sit down and talk reasonably and with a positive and bright future in sight. My clashes with HR (as laughable as they seem) have really pulled a nerve on me. We still float a little aimless without focus on a mission statement and the mood is peculiarly fragile. I wish someone could step forward and utilize my knowledge. We now refer to each other as villagers and are micro managed about how we manage.
On the other hand my kitchen team is super. They have leaped a huge step forward. We now can confidentially produce somewhat of a consistent five star cuisine but I need much more time to polish the personalities into great chefs. I have like Jamie Oliver succeeded to lead a team of foremost inexperienced chefs and teamed them up to a solid staff and it shows that they’re enjoying this profession. Working with all of them has been a rewarding experience. We came in eighth at the wedding cake competition in Bangkok! Today they gave me a framed image of their King and this indeed is an honor and a sign of acceptance. I am proud.
The school next door is great fun. I love the kids. So far we still need some help with prescription glasses and basic school material. Thank you to all that gave us support ; I have  received from friends and bloggers cloth and writing material.
Today we have an Australian film team in house. I love when we do advertisement for the resort, it’s the most needed entity to get this boat floating. If the weather holds up we’ll have a few nice culinary moments. I’m afraid the monsoon that hit China and the Philippines will arrive here within the next twenty four hours.
There is a Thai snack consisting of baby shrimp, cashew nuts, garlic, lemon grass galangal and Kaffir lime leaves. Its all tossed together and deep fried, I find it a fascinating toping for seafood salads and poached squid. I am trying to create an Italian Seafood Salad with Fusion Thai Spices and so far the feedback has been positive. I think I’ve adapted to the spicy cuisine here, I eat now dishes that I considered a few month back way to hot for my tongue. It doesn’t even burn anymore when I get “rid” of it…
I’m back to the kitchen, to this day I’m still cranking up twelve hour daily shifts and I crave a long awaited rest.
I will be missing the memorial service for my friend Lou, who’s family has arranged this get-together around my schedule. It really pains me not being there in person. It makes my offer to assist the success for this resort a bit questionable that my generous cancellation to be present when needed is not acknowledged.
Viva Italia. I have a feeling they will win the world cup.
Please send your comments; I enjoy hearing from all of you.

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