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Saturday 25 February 2023

Dutch chefs promote food sustainability in Thailand

Dutch cuisine is not something to shout about.

With the exception of Indonesian-influenced dishes, the Netherlands does not have a lot to entice gastronomes. Look up AVG.

Dishes like stamppot, oliebollen and erwtensoep are unlikely to excite non natives.

That said, two Dutch chefs - Jimmy Ophorst and Rick Dingen - are setting benchmarks for sustainable fine dining. Not in the Netherlands, but on the Thai island of Phuket.

Ophorst (top) runs the kitchen at PRU, the signature dining venue at Trisara, one of Phuket’s most exclusive resorts.

Dingen (below), meanwhile, oversees the food at Jampa, which follows a philosophy of "local ingredients, live fire, and zero waste cuisine” at Tri Vananda, a high-end wellness community taking shape in the forests of northern Phuket.

The pair not only share a nationality - but also the desire to promote a seasonal, sustainable food ecosystem.

Both were recognized in the Michelin Guide Thailand Star Revelation list 2023 at the end of last year, with PRU retaining its Michelin star and Jampa earning a Michelin green star for its zero-waste, plant-based food.

"Sustainability is the heart of our business," says Ophorst who steers the only venue in Phuket with a Michelin star. "It's integral to our restaurants and our lives."

Both Trisara and Tri Vananda are owned by Montara Hospitality Group, a company that has earned a reputation for prioritising sustainability at Trisara and through its 16,000 sqm Pru Jampa organic farm, located within the Tri Vananda property.

At PRU, Thai ingredients are shaped using inspiration from both east and west. The venue's name is an acronym for Plant. Raise. Understand. Ingredients are 100% sourced from within Thailand, with much of the organic produce grown at the Pru Jampa farm.

“There’s a huge interest among the public in dining experiences that support local communities and showcase amazing Thai produce,” Uphorst said.

“I look forward to furthering our commitment to sustainable cooking and sourcing and delighting guests through innovation.”

Dingen says: "I aim to showcase locally sourced, seasonal ingredients in the best way possible."

He is known for his commitment to zero waste and aims to make Jampa the first venue in Phuket to achieve a zero-waste-to-landfill ratio.

"We want to exert the absolute minimal impact upon the earth and our aim is to break down our kitchen waste to ensure nothing goes to landfill," he said.

A couple of venues added to my list for my next visit.

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