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The Samui Times recently intervied the new manager of The Shack in Bophut Fisherman’s Village to find out a little more about him, what is going on at The Shack and where he came from!
Where do you come from originally? and how long have you been in Koh Samui?
I’m originally from a town called Halifax in Yorkshire in England and this time around, I’ve only been back on Samui 3 months, but spent 2 and a half years here from 2015 – 2017, 2 and a half years in Chiang Mai and a year on Koh Phangan prior to that.
I spent the first 15 to 16 years of my working life in retail sales and management back in England, but my first introduction to the hospitality game was on Koh Phangan back in 2010 when I ran a small beach bar and restaurant in Baan Tai. My next opportunity came when I took over the management of the iconic Billabong Surf Club in Fisherman’s Village, Bophut from 2015 to 2017 and had some great success bringing the place back to life! I have The Billabong to thank for some of my strong friendships with both Ex-Pats on the island and returning tourists alike.
When did you first hear about The Shack? Were you a customer before you were the manager?
Whilst living and working in Fisherman’s Village, it’s almost impossible to not know about The Shack! On both a professional and personal level, I quickly became a customer and would always take my visiting friends and family for one of their famous steaks! I guess my friendship with the owners Johan and John gradually increased from that.
What sort of management techinques do you use?
I am very lucky to be working with a great staff team and ownership at the Shack, some of whom have been here for over 10 years, so know exactly what both we and our customers expect from them. As far as techniques go? It’s quite simple; treat people how you wish to be treated!
Our only focus regarding customer service is to offer all of our guests an unforgettable dining experience, preparing and serving the highest possible quality of food in a relaxed, yet unique ‘Bluesy’ atmosphere.
What are your plans for The Shack?
As most people on the island already know, The Shack has been in business since 2003, with the original founder Larry putting The Shack firmly on the map, with not only his big character, but by importing the highest quality of beef & seafood and giving The Shack the very same theme you see today. From the music to the pictures on the walls, nothing has changed and with a solid menu our plans are only to keep serving people what they want, in the way they want it and if we can in any way improve the quality of our imports, then we will.
I have already introduced live music to The Shack on Friday nights with Samui’s top acoustic musician Mr Mark James, who again, most of Samui’s long term residents will be very familiar with and he has certainly added to our lively atmosphere and brought a later bar crowd in for a sing-a-long with The Shack Bar being open until 1am on Friday nights.
We will be of course be making some small menu updates for the next high season, intruding some old favourites, some new and will be certainly updating our spirits and cocktail menu and will always have a vast supply of quality wines from around the globe.
All in all, my only plan is to keep doing what The Shack has done for years, keep our reviews the best they can be, our food and service second to none and ensure all of our customers leave happy, full and with nothing but good memories from their time with us here.
What do you think makes The Shack the most succesful steak house on the island?
Like I said before, The Shack has a great reputation on the island and there is a reason why it is probably the longest standing Steakhouse around and personally, I believe consistency plays a huge part in that. It’s OK to be successful, but to be consistently successful is the key to staying ahead of the game.
The Shack continues to only use the best possible importers and suppliers on the island, expects a high standard from the staff and ensures that every meal is prepared and cooked to perfection, alongside a very relaxed atmosphere, fantastic music and welcoming, longstanding staff, whom returning customers are always pleased to see, year in, year out!
What is your favorite meal there?
This one has taken me some time to think about, because we have such an eclectic menu with some great choices, which will suit all tastes.
Saying that, if I had to choose, it would have to be The Shack’s Signature bacon wrapped prawns in Pernod sauce followed by 350g Wagyu Rib-Eye Steak cooked medium rare, with sautéed potatoes, Shack House coleslaw and blue cheese sauce on the side. The sauce is for the potatoes, not the steak… Believe me, that doesn’t need anything adding to it!
What do you do when you are not managing The Shack?
We live on an amazing island, that can be taken for granted at times, so when possible, I like to get out on the bike and explore, but at the same time, if I can, support other friends in business around the island by eating in their restaurants or bars or catching my musician friends playing in other venues. I am lucky to have some very talented friends, both in the kitchen and on the old guitar!
What is your favourite part of the island?
Albeit a long drive from Bophut and I definitely don’t get over there enough, the sunsets at Thong Krut have to be up there with the best and it helps having some great friends who live nearby, so sundowners there is my idea of perfect bliss!
Saying that, having lived and worked in Fisherman’s Village, Bophut, almost all of my time on Samui, I also have to say that this part of the island is certainly on par and will always recommend that my visiting friends stay somewhere within walking distance of it.
How do you find life in Koh Samui?
That’s easy, having just spent a year back in England! Samui feels more like home these days than my home town and although I have some of the best friends and family anyone could ask for back in Yorkshire, Samui life is more suited to my outlook and attitude to life these days and as long as you find the right balance between work and play, it’s the perfect place to be. Plus it gives my friends and family a good reason to come out to see me!
To sum things up, I haven’t had ’Monday Morning Blues’ since arriving back on the island in July!