Koh Samui Dreamin’ - How Chef Bee is Making Her Culinary Mark In Style
Take a poll of the “Best tropical islands to be shipwrecked on” and we’ll bet you a piña colada that Koh Samui will make it to the top three for most people. Your dream island is likely filled with endless powdery sand beaches, gently lapping waves and warm breezes through the palm trees.
Congratulations, you’ve just described W Koh Samui’s location on the Gulf of Thailand! But what makes the W experience truly stand out from the other daydreams comes down to the people you’ll meet during your stay and the interactions you'll enjoy as a guest.
One such person is Supaporn Chanvijit, or Bee to all who know her. She has been with the hotel from the very start as Thai Chef - and indeed half of her extensive professional Chef experience has come at W Koh Samui. Importantly for her, and fortunately for our guests, the other nine years have been spent working outside of Thailand, savoring the aromas, flavours and techniques of some of the world’s most exciting cuisines. Her passport must be filled, thanks to an enviable array of pop-ups and placements:
Chef Supaporn Chanvijit (Bee)
Bee is at the forefront of a new movement of young, passionate and global-thinking female industry trailblazers, paving the way for future hospitality professionals. That’s quite a big responsibility, but one that Bee is more than prepared - and happy - to take on. Born in the city of Trang, a short ferry ride and a few hours south by car from Koh Samui, Bee followed the culinary arts from an early age. Like many chefs, the seeds of her passion for cooking were planted early, including one standout dish in particular:
“Since I was a child, I was fascinated, influenced and motivated by my mom’s home cooking. It inspired me to become a professional chef so I studied in Home Economics at Rajabhat Institute of Technology in Bangkok. Yam Makuer Yao - Thai eggplant salad - is the dish that also motivated me to become a chef. I love this dish because it’s a family recipe, prepared by my mom since my childhood.”
Yam Makuer Yao - Thai eggplant salad
At W Koh Samui, trying both local and regional dishes is an important part of the dining experience, so Bee uses the hotel's idyllic location to offer a broad range of stunning Thai creations. But where to begin? Thailand spans over a thousand miles from north to south, housing over forty ethnic groups, so the Thai Chef's repertoire is brimming with ingredients and combinations. One common theme through much of the country is a love of fresh herbs and spices, transformed into palate-pleasing marinades, pastes and dressings, often with heat from chili. Bee is a particularly big fan of Larb, a dish familiar to many, but she likes to give it an Isaan regional twist. It is generally agreed to be a dish with its roots in Laos, just north of Thailand, but the Isaan people have close ties with Lao culture, but the tweaks don’t end there:
“I like to innovate new things and love to think outside of the box to find different ways, rather than doing the same thing. Flavour-packed Larb is undoubtedly the finest ambassador of Thai food abroad. I reinvented this dish as a healthy, vegetarian plate featuring pomegranate, sweetcorn, rice berry, pearl barley, shallots and green onions. The zest of this veggie larb will enhance the mood.”
Previously the student, Bee is now turning teacher using her Thailand Culinary Cup and Ultimate Chef Challenge credentials to inspire the students at schools in Koh Samui with fruit and vegetable carving masterclasses. It’s a busy schedule, but as Bee tells us:
Bee and her team of Thai Chefs, nestled in a dream-like island, can't wait to let guests experience the whole of Thailand on a plate.