A short story of a long journey: Chuchart Thammasatisuk

The Royal Kitchen boasts itself as Phuket’s tallest and one of the finest Cantonese restaurants in Phuket. Open since 1989, the restaurant continues writing down another page of its long history. We at got a chance to spend a few minutes with its executive chef, the man whose name can never be missed in the end credits.

When did you first become interested in cooking?
“It was when I was less than 15 years old.”

Please tell us how did you start your culinary career?
“I initially was just a helper in the kitchen. At that time (about 60 years ago) I worked hard to get only 2 baht a month (approx 4,000 – 5,000 baht these days). Until I moved up and got 5 baht a month. In the past there were no cooking schools. Working in the real kitchen is the only way for people to learn cooking and it was the same for me.”

What is your experience in Chinese restaurants?
“Prior to this, I worked for one of the oldest and most famous Chinese restaurants in Thailand named “Hoy Tien Lo”. The seven years at the country’s premier restaurant was a priceless experience since it helped clear up my career path and acted like a visa for me to get ahead. I then spent two and a half years in Japan before coming back to Bangkok and I also did a stint in Australia for a year.”

And then?
“I flied back to Thailand and began working for The Royal Paradise ever since then. It was over 20 years ago from the first day I came here to set up the kitchen. Who knows it may become my only workplace for the rest of my life.”

Why don’t you move again?
“Living in Phuket is so comfortable and convenient when compared to living in Bangkok. That’s the reason.”

Chef Chuchart for Phuket Sa-ard
“Looking at my work, we in the kitchen have to sort all the garbage and waste. What is also practiced here is to collect used cooking oil and sell it at minimal cost to buyers who will process it to bio-diesel.”

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