I love meeting and talking to people. In Khao Lak we get to meet folks from all over the world. I am happy to answer questions and provide a little insight about working and living in Thailand. These are some of the most frequently asked questions and answers.
How long have you been in Thailand?
I moved to Thailand in December 2004. I started my adventure in Chiang Mai. I was only going to stay for a few weeks but it turned into 3 years!
Were you in Khao Lak for the Tsunami?
No, I wasn’t. I was living in Chiang Mai at the time and my mother insisted that I come home for the Christmas holiday. I was supposed to meet my friends on Koh Phi Phi but I went home to the family. It was the best decision as I missed the tsunami and little did I know but it would also be the last Christmas I would spend with my mother. She passed away the following summer.
Are you married?
Yes. I have a lovely Thai wife who works with me at the restaurant and a very cheeky son.
What brought you to Khao Lak?
Well, I was living and working in Udon Thani which is in the north eastern part of Thailand. I received an email from La Flora Resort and Spa. They wanted to know if I was interested in interviewing for their vacant executive chef position. It was funny because I had never heard of Khao Lak. I knew the resort was on the beach and I was born and raised on the beach in Los Angeles. I flew to Phuket and took a taxi north. I remember thinking “what am I getting myself into?” The drive was nothing special until you get just past Thap Lamu. The beautiful cutting through the rain forest and winding through the mountains. Then the panoramic ocean view from the top blew me away. La Flora is a beautiful resort so I took the job. I worked for one season and was offered a piece of land for rent. That is where I opened the first Rusty Pelican. I am happy to say that we have expanded twice and our newest location is the best yet.
Do you like living here?
Khao Lak and Bang Niang are great places to live. It is quiet. There is virtually no crime. It is an awesome place for children to grow up. The beaches are clean. There is little traffic, no planes or helicopters in the air. No pollution, smog or industry. We have waterfalls, pristine empty beaches, good surf in the summer and world class diving and fishing in the winter.
Is it hard to find the ingredients you want?
With the exception of avocados, which we can get for a short time in the winter, it’s real easy. I can get everything I need at the local morning market.
What about visas?
Visas are easy to obtain and there are many different options. To work you need a “non-b” visa. Setting up a company can be a little tricky but if you have a good lawyer it is no problem.
Do you go home often?
I try to get back to California every year. I only stay a short time because I have “gone native” as they say.
My quality of life here is second to none so when I go back it is only to see my family and a few friends. Also there are a couple of restaurants I miss so I go to them too. When all is said and done Thailand is my home now.