With over 16 years’ experience across Asia working for some of the best hotels and chefs in the business, Chef Thong Aek Seneewong na Ayuthaya has chosen Centara and Krabi as his new workplace and home in a move that is sure to delight guests and locals alike with his sensational culinary creations.
Here is the story of his journey
After completion of the Siam business college with focus on Tourism, Thong was able to get his first opportunity during the opening of the Bangkok Peninsula Hotel. Other people would have aimed for a chance in one of the restaurants but he was quite content to get a chance to work in “Chili & Pepper” the staff canteen of this famous five-star hotel. He learned to cook Thai food for Thai people. At that point, instead of learning to plate fine dining creations he managed a wok and cooked for portions for 10 persons at a time. This basic knowledge accompanied him all his life and created the base of his culinary career.
He got a chance to go abroad for the first time to join the Mandarin Oriental Macau for five years. His starting position was as Commis in Naam the fine dining Thai restaurant. Here he learned the finesse of fine dining and elegant plate presentation. He was promoted after two years and worked as Demi chef. After three years in the Thai restaurant he was given a chance to move as Demi chef to the fine dining Italian restaurant, Mezzaluna. This change was an extremely hard challenge since he never cooked Italian food before. He studied very hard on the recipes and the cooking techniques to become an effective Italian chef. During this time the Mezzaluna belonged to the very best restaurants in Macau and he was able to work with numerous well known foreign chefs, who by now have made excellent careers.
During this time chef Thong Aek was also able to join some promotional chefs such as celebrity Chef David Laris, owner of David Laris Creates and working with the one-star Michelin Chef Mario Corti.
After five years abroad he felt it was time to return to his family and look after his mother and grandmother in Chiang Mai. Through Mandarin Oriental Hotel group he was invited to return to his roots of Thai cuisine at the Le Grand Lanna Restaurant at the Dhara Dhevi, the magnificent hotel of Chiang Mai where he was fortunate to be promoted to Chef de Partie. He enjoyed his time back in Thailand and especially to cook Thai food again. It was a great learning experience to be part of such an excellent hotel and improve his knowledge of Thai food under the guidance of Chef Virat Kanja.
With all this improved wisdom he was off overseas again and moved as sssistant Thai chef to Melt restaurant at the Mandarin Oriental Singapore. After another short visit to Macau he finally returned to Thailand to settle down. He joined his first American style managed hotel, the JW Marriot Phuket and worked there for one year at the Cucina Italian restaurant to later join the Crown Plaza as Chef de Cuisine of the Patio restaurant. He enjoyed taking care of the Patio Restaurant, working with his team and teaching them new dishes and techniques. In the meanwhile he also gained official Chef Certifications in order to qualify to work and cook in Europe.
After a while with Patio restaurant and an excellent 16 years culinary journey he received an opportunity to join Centara Anda Dhevi Resort and Spa Krabi as head chef. This role is quite new to him due to its job description. As the head of the kitchen department he is not only using his technical skills but also able to develop his skills in other areas. He has learnt a lot about department financials, planning, organizing and developing both product and people.
Chef Thong says: “It is my pleasure and pride to join the Centara family as I received the opportunity to show my skills, develop myself and moreover I have a chance to develop others”
George Kenton, general manager says: “We are delighted and excited to have you on our team Chef Ake, and look forward seeing you continue your fascinating journey with us in Krabi”