Chef Sinchai Srivipa, the new executive chef of Thailand’s Chiva-Som International Health Resort, swears by the ‘food is medicine’ concept in his new wellness diet plan. By Tanvi Jain

Chiva-Som International Health Resort

Holistic wellness is all about striking a fine balance between physical and environmental health. Based on this philosophy, Thailand’s Chiva-Som International Health Resort designed its four-stage renovation programme, resulting in a complete overhaul of the resort—especially its seaside restaurant, Taste of Siam. The restaurant’s new executive chef, Sinchai Srivipa, talks to us about how nutrition transcends from an element of health to a source of pleasure, and how the resort’s two restaurants—The Emerald Room and Taste of Siam—are working on seducing one’s senses while contributing to the body’s natural healing process.

How are you planning to redefine wellness cuisine?

We are looking to fully embrace the time-honoured idea of ‘food is medicine’ by enhancing our food range. We will create special menus that address various wellness topics, such as a ‘gut health’ menu featuring foods that support digestive health and healing.

What are the challenges of being a chef in a health resort?

The challenges faced by an executive chef revolve around maintaining the resort’s high wellness cuisine standards, while actively creating new concepts and menus, upholding the consistency in service, representing the latest in wellness cuisine innovation, and conveying the importance of what we do in the kitchen to our guests.

Chiva-Som International Health Resort

You’ve attended many high-profile culinary events around the world. How have they influenced the way you work?

Going to various high-profile events enables you to interact with clients of diverse needs and expectations. This has helped me understand how our kitchen can approach the wellness cuisine category in a brand new way.

Chiva-Som has collaborated with a local temple to preserve the last remaining mangrove in Hua Hin. What’s your take?

We believe in a thought process called the ‘haven of life’ philosophy, which states that personal wellness goes hand-in-hand with environmental wellness. Chiva-Som is the environmental preservation steward of Krailart Niwate—the last remaining mangrove forest in Hua Hin. Located on a land owned by the Buddhist temple Wat Khao Krailart, Krailart Niwate is a private-sector-reconstructed wetland project. Since 2007, over 5,000 trees have been planted in the forest by various stakeholders. In 2015, we sponsored the construction of the 1,000-metre-long elevated boardwalk through the ecosystem, to promote eco-spiritual tourism in the region, and to raise awareness on the importance of a mangrove ecosystem in the world.

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