HomeChef InterviewsFive Minutes With… Alfonso De La Dehesa For just over a year, Banyan Tree Phuket’s gastronomic offering has benefited from the culinary talents of Executive Chef Alfonso de la Dehesa. With multiple decades spent cooking at some of the globe’s most prestigious dining establishments – including five-star European hotels and triple-Michelin-starred restaurants like ARZAK and elbulli – this is one chef with serious pedigree. My mother taught me to cook I grew up in Spain, and she was a great cook. Professionally, my background includes spells with Juan Mari Arzak at ARZAK in San Sebastian and Ferran Adria at elbulli, Catalonia. Prior to starting at Banyan Tree Phuket in June 2015, I worked at Dubai’s Madinat Jumeirah, at The Four Seasons in both Geneva and Mexico, and, again in Mexico, at Banyan Tree Cabo Marques. I love living and working in Phuket The area abounds with must-visit sites: local beaches, the James Bond Islands, Promthep Cape viewpoint, and Old Phuket Town. ‘Quality’ is my mantra Our guests demand and expect the nest cuisine; from raw ingredients (like the seafood that’s so popular here), to what’s on the plate, to flawless service. With multiple restaurants and cookery classes, we offer a breadth of choice; from Japanese and Thai to Mediterranean seafood. Ensuring customers are happy gives me endless satisfaction. Guests are spoiled for dining choices A buffet breakfast at The Watercourt might include pastries, sushi, or signature stir-fried noodles. Lunch should come with a view – two of my favourite options are the pomelo salad at Banyan Café, overlooking the golf club, and poolside Japanese food from Tamarind. For dinner, Saffron’s set Thai menu allows you to try all the chef ’s highlights in one meal. If you prefer Mediterranean cuisine, I’d suggest The Watercourt’s paella or white snapper a la sal. For something really special, our sunset dining experiences – the Promise of Love Dinner Cruise and Dinner of the Senses (our floating restaurant) are unrivalled. We throw in-villa barbecues The unique experience is extremely popular. We offer a variety of menus to suit diverse palates and occasions. Dining in your private villa offers an intimate atmosphere, and a private chef and team of service staff look after our guests’ every need. We create festive feasts to remember This Christmas, we’ve got some gorgeous dishes planned – incorporating luxurious, exclusive ingredients like black truffles, foie gras, Russian caviar, and Spanish pata negra ham. Seafood specials will be a feature, and local Thai dishes will join the traditional British Christmas turkey for festive meals guests will remember for a lifetime. Dine in style Banyan Tree Phuket’s cuisine is as luxurious at the accommodation. Stunning Japanese fare is served al fresco at Tamarind, whilst Banyan Café’s relaxed surroundings offer a Western menu and views of the golf club’s well-manicured lawns. If visiting Thailand country inspires you to delve deeper into local cuisine, explore the food on o er at Banyan Tree’s signature restaurant, Saffron. The Watercourt, meanwhile, puts the whole world on your plate with a tempting range of international seafood dishes. Find out more here. Alfonso on New Year’s Eve at Banyan Tree Phuket ‘We’re hosting a Masquerade ball this New Year’s Eve, celebrating a magnificent and unforgettable night in the grandest style. Pre-dinner, there will be cocktails, canapés and plenty of bubbly to accompany the entertainment in the Lobby Bar. A marvellous international gourmet feast will include live cooking stations, and a professional band and DJ will ensure everyone’s up and dancing right up until the clock strikes midnight and a fabulous firework display lights up the sky. There is no better way to see in 2017.’ To discover even more luxurious travel destinations, pick up a copy of our latest issue.