Chef Wanthana Nikonsaen
Food Designer / Executive Chef
When asked what her last meal on earth would be, Chef Wanthana replied 'a bowl of rice' as she reminisced her childhood of farmlife in a small village near Laos, North-east of Thailand. "From the first harvest to the first bowl of cooked rice, it's amazing how a simple bowl of plain rice is able to warm hearts and fill a hungry stomach", she said that with her mind's eye reflecting intelligibly her view on life, in sum. While the idea of becoming a professional cook stemmed from the pure desire to prove her father wrong, Chef Pin as she prefers to be addressed, became a well-loved chef who aspires not to stardom but instead, to 'fill a need' like that bowl of rice. Her true ambition is 'cook to please' with gratifying measures of satisfaction through very simple culinary pleasures.
She landed her first job as a cook/kitchen helper after college a hotel in the Thai beach resort town Hua Hin, where she developed a profound interest in fruitcarving. Not a fan of sweets however, a becoming visual artist of a chef who dons eye-candy. After a brief one-year stint, Chef Pin started her journey into authentic Thai cuisine during the 3 years in Bangkok at the Amari Hotel. Then her culinary adventure began, with the advantage that she has a good command in English, working abroad beckoned. She joined the Indochinese kitchen team at Tamarind Springs restaurant in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia before taking flight to Brunei as a Junior Sous Chef where she had the opportunity to work with a myriad of international fare - Arabic, Japanese, Indian and European. Now vested with a more diverse knowledge in cuisine, she returned to Malaysia to work under the giant hotel chain brand YTL at the renowned Pangkor Laut Resort. Through her gradual learning progression and exposure to the styles of cooking, the use of ingredients and diversity of cuisine, Chef Pin started experimenting with the fusing of flavors and drawn to the science of natural fresh food that promotes wellbeing. This very revelation carved her way back to the one true cuisine close to her heart - back to basic Thai Cuisine. Chef Pin returned to Samadhi Retreats, only this time as Executive Chef of Tamarind Hill Singapore.
Today fusing all her culinary experiences, expertise in vegetable and fruitcarving, her aptitude in aesthetics, Chef Pin heads the team at Tamarind Hill with an intent sharp as a knife. "My favorite utensil has got to be the knife because it is to me what a brush or pen is to an artist. I prepare food with a knife and I always finish with something I've personally carved before I present my plate to a diner. The whole process is therefore an art form to me and having said that, Tamarind Hill is now my canvas. This excites me the same way some people get excited over driving a luxury car!"