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Samui has a very large community for the size of the island and has attracted very many interesting people to its shores since it put its pin firmly on the tourist map. The Samui Times are going to be finding out a little about some of the people that come from every corner of the globe and now call this island home. This week we caught up with Matt, the chef at the new and very popular Stacked restaurant at the Ozo resort to find out a little more about him and what he is creating at one of the islands most popular restaurants.
Hi Matt, thank you for this interview, where do you come from?
How long have you been in Koh Samui?
I came to Thailand in 2007, but have only been in Samui Since January of this year.
When did you passion for food first emerge?
According to my mother my first conscious act was to eat. From a very young age I preferred to watch cooking shows on public television instead of cartoons. I began cooking dinner for my family by the time I was 8 years old. Food and cooking have always been a passionate an integral part of my day to day life. As I grew older, exploring different ethnic grocery stores and farmers markets and experimenting with new ingredients became a real passion of mine. I was fortunate to grow up in a very good culinary city as well as travel outside the US a lot and gain exposure to different culinary cultures.
What kind of training have you had?
I went to culinary school after university and earned a degree in Hospitality Management and Culinary Arts. However, as most chefs will tell you, the real learning and training begins when you start working in professional kitchens. I had some great executive Chefs in San Francisco, in particular Chef Annie Sommerville at Greens, who taught me a tremendous amount about restraint and letting ingredients speak for themselves.
Tell me something of the culinary journey that led you to Koh Samui?
I was on the opening team for a few restaurants in Phuket and Bangkok with my former company, but the idea of coming to Koh Samui and working with a great new brand like OZO and having the opportunity to open Stacked was an offer I couldn’t pass up. I wanted to be part of a brand and company that was focused on producing a high quality product but also focused on longevity and constantly working to be better everyday.
What is the theme of the Stacked restaurant?
The theme is very simple: Eat, Drink, Relax, Enjoy. We want to serve the best quality food and drink with very friendly, professional and thorough service, but at the same time we don’t want to over embellish the experience with the seriousness and pretense that can cloud a fine dining experience. We want Stacked to be a home away from home for locals and travelers alike.
What kind of dishes are you serving?
I like to call in International Comfort Food or New American Cuisine. We are serving up everything from steaks and burgers to duck confit, oxtail consomme and black cod en papillote. We use ingredients and techniques from all over Asia, Europe and North America so you can have Laab Moo Thod to start, Taleggio Pappardelle as your main and finish with a Warm Apple Crumble . It’s the way I was taught to cook in San Francisco, take the best from all over the world and put a new spin on it, and of course sound french technique never hurts.
Which dishes are proving to be the most popular?
So far our selection of burgers and steaks are the clear favorites. We have a dozen different burger styles and flavors to choose from. We grind our own beef as many as three times per day to make sure the burgers are always fresh juicy and they never see the inside of a freezer. We also have a nice variety of steaks. New Zealand Prime Steer. Australian Wagyu and American Prime Black Angus.
What sort of atmosphere can your diners expect at Stacked?
We like to keep it relaxed and casual with eclectic music and a friendly staff that put the guest at ease. We also show live sports daily and feature live music 3 times per week. The thought is to bring the atmosphere of your local pub or neighborhood restaurant to a higher level.
What are the key ingredients that you think makes Stacked so special (not food, but lighting, location etc)
Our location right on Chaweng Beach Road is fantastic, especially with our large outdoor terrace that lets guests watch the hustle and bustle of Chaweng from a relaxing distance. Our service staff as well is such an important component. From day one we emphasised friendliness and familiarity with the guests, have fun, have a laugh and remember that people come to stacked to have a good time beyond the food and drink.
What kind of promotions do you run at Stacked?
We have new food promotions every month. At the moment we are doing the Stacked Burger Challenge, a towering burger and all the trimmings that has to be consumed 100% in under 20 minutes. Next month we will be doing a few German inspired dishes and offering some special German beers for Oktoberfest. We also have daily happy hours from 5-7pm and 11pm=12am everyday.
Do you have any plans for the future in Stacked?
Our plan is very simple, to build on the early success and popularity we’ve been fortunate to have and improve our product every day.
What is it about heading the Stacked culinary team that makes your job so enjoyable?
I’ve been a chef in Thailand for 6 years and my current culinary team is the most curious and eager to learn group I’ve worked with. For most of my cooks, working in a stand alone restaurant is a new experience and they are really enjoying and taking to the pace and creativity that is involved. I really do enjoy teaching them dishes and techniques that they will utilize the rest of their culinary careers.
What is it about working at Stacked that your team enjoy the most?
They enjoy learning new things and the high standard I demand of them. They also very much enjoy the results of their hard work when guests nightly come up to the open kitchen and thank them for a great meal. I’m very proud of the kitchen team and how hard they have worked.
for more information you can visit the Stacked Facebook page by clicking here