Chef Colin, a native of Hawaii, has been in love with food and the art of cooking since he was a small boy. He enrolled in the Culinary Arts Program at the Art Institute of Los Angeles in Santa Monica, California and has worked for hotels and top restaurants in the US, including an Outrigger Hotel in his home state.
He decided to do some traveling in order to learn more about other cuisines of the world, and spent some time in Mexico before arriving in Thailand. He worked in Bangkok before moving to Phuket two years ago to work for the Allseasons Nai Harn Phuket, an Accor property, before joining the Centara Karon Resort early this year.
When did you start cooking ?
I started cooking at home when I was around nine or ten years old. At first it was a chore as I had to make breakfast for my parents but after a while I realized that I enjoyed the challenge of coming up with new ideas – not all of them edible. I got my first job working in a kitchen when I was 14 years old.
Is it hard to cook Thai food?
When I first started cooking Thai food I did not find it that difficult. However, making it taste authentic according to Thai traditional taste took some practice as well as a few failed attempts.
Who taught you to cook Thai food?
Most of what I know about Thai food I picked up from my staff in various kitchens. It was kind of a trade-off, I taught them about Western food and techniques and they taught me about Thai food, as well as Thai language. I think that they rather enjoyed the lessons as well, being able to teach the Chef a thing or two.
Other than that I have an extensive collection of cook books about cuisines around the world, including Thai, which were also of help in my learning process. Anything else was learned in the truest form of trial and error.
What is the best part of being a chef?
The best part is seeing people enjoy your creations. I feel that every chef is an artist and there is no better feeling than seeing someone really appreciate what you have created. Also, I like the fact that, as a chef, you’ll never go hungry!
What is your favorite dish to eat?
Tough one. I think I will have to give two answers to this question, there is just too much great food out there. My first dish, I would have to say, is Lau lau, which is a traditional Hawaiian dish, consisting of butterfish and usually pork which is wrapped in taro leaves and then cooked in a traditional underground oven called an imu. My other favorite dish is a Thai dish, moo krop pad nam prik pao (crispy pork fried with chili-garlic paste). There is just something about the combination of flavors that makes this dish truly irresistible.
What is your number one priority at work?
Enhancing the knowledge and capabilities of my staff. By showing them ways in which we can improve ourselves and create new combinations, we can further the overall experience and satisfaction of our guests.
If you weren’t a chef, what other career would you follow?
I would be working as an actor and stunt man. This is something that I love to do and have, in fact, had a chance to do frequently. One movie I worked on was Oliver Stone’s Alexander, starring Colin Farrel. Another that I had the honor of being a part of was the Thai box office hit Tom Yum Goong.