Nai Harn Phuket appoints Kevin Fawkes as Culinary Director
Kevin Jean Fawkes has been appointed Culinary Director of The Nai Harn as the long-awaited relaunch of this iconic Phuket resort draws near after 18 months of extensive renovations.
Chef Fawkes shines in the kitchen – no surprise, considering the amount of Michelin stardust that has rubbed off on him in a career that has taken him from the great British kitchen of Anton Edelman at the Savoy Hotel London to stints at cutting edge restaurants by Sir Terence Conran, Gordon Ramsay, Jason Atherton, Albert Roux and René Redzepi.
His culinary journey also includes stops in Asia, Europe and the Middle East with luxury hotels including Raffles, Kempinski and Rosewood, not to mention his exhilarating journey at the foragers’ paradise and recent world’s best restaurant, Noma.
Chef Fawkes is the latest ‘big gun’ hired by The Nai Harn, the only resort on Phuket accepted as a member of the prestigious Leading Hotels of the World collection, and the first five star resort on the island when it originally opened in 1986.
The new post reunites him with General Manager Frank Grassmann, who oversaw Chef Fawkes’ acclaimed tenure at Koh Kood resort Soneva Kiri, and another alumni of The Savoy in London, its famous bartender, Salim Khoury, who comes on board as mixology consultant.
Located on beautiful Nai Harn beach near the southern tip of the island, The Nai Harn will offer 130 luxurious guest rooms and suites with panoramic views over the Andaman Sea, Phuket’s best vantage point to drink in the Andaman sunsets, a bespoke luxury spa and a stunning new pool and food and beverage spaces.
One of those spaces will be Chef Fawkes’ signature playground, Rock Salt, where the Anda-man’s best sunset views will complement a creative and exotic yet authentic and elegantly relaxed haven for connoisseurs.
Breezy and casual, Rock Salt will features dishes showcasing cuisine from around the Asia-Pacific region. Separate menus for lunch and dinner with seaside classics, innovative tapas and everything in between – all served right at the ocean’s edge.
Easy takeaway options allow guests to head straight for the waterfront. At lunch, the focus is on Thai modern classics and international favourites, including wood-fired pizzas, tandoori baked seafood and market seafood display from the Rawai fisherman. As the sun sets, Rock Salt transitions into Nai Harn Beach’s premier chill-out destination. Patrons enjoy a menu inspired by the culinary traditions of the Eastern Mediterranean and North Africa with a dash of Thai influence in a relaxed al fresco ambiance.
Chef Fawkes will also be tasked with ensuring The Nai Harn’s other main restaurant, Cosmo, delivers on its promise of a refined journey through diverse culinary traditions from around the world. The menu reflects the chef’s passion for travel and new cultural experiences, while an underpinning of Southern Thai flavours pays homage to The Nai Harn’s rich Phuket heritage.
Mr Grassmann said he was delighted to have been able to lure Chef Fawkes to Phuket. “He is a special kind of chef, he has the creative spark but more than that he really inspires loyalty and leads by example with his team,” he said. “That’s where the real magic happens.”
Chef Fawkes said he was looking forward to the challenge of being part of The Nai Harn’s founding team, as well as being part of a property which has a true legacy of luxury and is a genuine icon of Phuket hospitality.
“This hotel has been a dining destination in years gone by, and we are hopeful and confident that it can be again,” he said.
From the UK, Chef Fawkes interned as an apprentice baker and patisserie chef, before enrolling in the renowned Westminster College in London, from which he graduated in 1991.
Chef Fawkes’ accolades include World Traveler Awards – Winner of World’s Leading Eco Resort and Spa 2012 and Mr. & Mrs. Smith – Winner of World’s best 5 star luxury family re-sort 2013 while at Soneva Kiri; Top Five Best Resorts in Europe for Anassa Resort & Spa, Po-lis, Cyprus at the British Travel Awards 2011 while executive chef; and Time Out Doha Res-taurant of the Year for Aroma, at Kempinski Residences & Suites, Doha, Qatar while Culinary Manager, and 2005 Bangkok Dining Magazine’s Best French Restaurant for Ma Maison, which he oversaw at the Nai Lert Park Bangkok Raffles Hotel.
Other highlights include:
• Iron Chef Thailand 2013
• Award international culinary judge of the World Association of Chefs Society (WACS)
• Member of the British Culinary Federation
His impressive list of stages and internships as a young chef also include stints with Auberge I’lle, Lyon, France (two Michelin stars, Chef Jean-Chistophe Ansanay-Alex), Rick Stein Sea-food Restaurant, Padstow, UK, Le Manoir aux Quat’Saisons, Oxfordshire, (Chef Raymond Blanc), and Maze Restaurant, London (two Michelin stars, Chef Jason Atherton).
Originally launched in 1986 and most recently named the Royal Phuket Yacht Club, The Nai Harn has undergone an extensive remodelling programme to restore the legendary resort to the pinnacle of the luxury resort hospitality.
High profile guests over the years have included Her Majesty Queen Sirikit, Prince Albert of Monaco, Prince Henrik of Denmark, former French president Jacques Chirac, the late actor Sir Peter Ustinov, dance legend Rudoph Nureyev, US actor Forest Whittaker and Roger Moore, who once fought Scaramanga on his famously eponymous James Bond Island off the coast of Phang Nga, a short speedboat hop away.