Just on the outskirts of the Bophut Fisherman’s village is a rather ornate door at the front of a rather inconspicuous building, behind which lies an incredible culinary secret. Although this new addition to Samui’s culinary map does not exactly scream out at you as you pass by, for anybody who enjoys fine dining in luxurious surroundings this is one unique dining experience more than worth seeking out.
The mysterious ornate door opens out into a refreshingly air-conditioned dining room dominated by one gigantic chef’s table incredibly carved from one stunning hardwood tree, along with several other tables inside. To the rear of the restaurant is a small bar and beyond that, smoked glass doors open into the kitchen where Chef Francois and his team create culinary masterpieces that can only be created from the sort of experience one gains when, in their early seventies, they can look back on an affair with fine dining that has lasted a lifetime.
In 1958 Chef Francois Porte started a four year apprenticeship as Commis Chef in the family owned Hotel de la Gare in Lannemezan in the South of France and during his military service in Algeria during the Algiers he was Chef in the French Legionaries Officers Mess. From 1964 – 1966 his summers were spent in Lourdes and his winters as a chef in a French Pyrenees Ski Resort. From there his affair with cuisine took him to the UK where he worked as Head Chef in a restaurant in East Sussex, a position he kept for three years before the owner of the restaurant brought a plantation in Barbados. With the help of Chef Francois the plantation was transformed into a restaurant and hotel and he spent five years in the West Indies before returning to the UK to open his own restaurant in Seaford, East Sussex. In 1983 Chef Francois was head hunted and by the Chairman of the Dubai Country Club and his career shifted to being Head Chef in the Middle East. With standards raised the Dubai Country Club soon became ‘the’ place to dine and during Princess Anne’s visit from the UK in 1987 he was invited to cook for her by the British Embassy in Dubai. In 1988 Francois was offered the Executive Chef position at the newly built and highly prestigious Emirates Golf Club and in 1996 he was persuaded to publish some of his recipes in his book Francois’s Favorite Courses.
After a highly successful career spanning many decades Chef Francois reluctantly decided to retire, feeling that perhaps he had dedicated enough of his life to blowing the mind’s culinary expectations of his diners around the globe, however, very few months passed before his passion for food lead him right back to the only place that feels like home, the chefs kitchen.
Chef Francois’ pursuit of the freshest ingredients, his talent, his presentation, his attention to details, his flair and his mind boggling years of experience allow him to create a dining experience like no other and like no other restaurant operating in Koh Samui.Here you will not find a menu. What you will find is dish after mouthwatering dish delivered to your table, along with a detailed explanation of what has just been put in front of you that will always be just as much a feast for your eyes as your stomach. What Chef Francois brings to the table are dishes that are perfectly balanced with ingredients that dance in harmony on the plate before you and deliver the kind of taste sensations that culinary dreams are made of. Not having a menu to choose from may sound like a rather odd concept but in many other areas of the world dining at a Chef’s table is commonplace among those who truly appreciate fine dining and are lucky enough to be in a position to enjoy it.
Having said that ‘no menu’ does not mean ‘no choice’, Chef Francois will give you plenty of options and choices that can be created from his considerable larder before he cooks and of course a chef with his talent is more than well prepared to create dishes to every taste and dietary requirement. Chef’s creations are freshly made and change on a daily basis, but to give you some examples of dishes, Mushrooms and garlic snails cassolette, Fillet of lamb with pumpkin puree, Canon of Lamb Provencal, Pan fried scallops with lobster ravioli, celeriac puree and peas sauce, Tuna carpaccio with tian of avocado, Marinated salmon with a tian of avocado and crab, horseradish and cream and Profiteroles filled with vanilla ice cream and hot chocolate ganache are the sort of things you can expect to be feasting on. Due to the nature of dining at the Chef’s table it is a very good idea to book ahead and this kind of dining lends itself perfectly to private parties and celebrations. Although Chef is happy to receive requests the day before from lovers of fine gastronomy walk in customers are welcome too, and as well as the chef’s table down stairs there is upstairs seating too, so don’t be put off by that rather stunning, closed ornate front door.
For reservations call – +66(0)960711800Stay updated with Samui Times by following us on Facebook.
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