Chef Mads Refslund at W Koh Samui

the world’s most creatively individual chefs

RRTH Editor in Chief Dr Paye Srinarong travels to W Koh Samui not just to indulge on the beautiful scenery but also for a chat with Denmark’s Mads Refslund, formerly of the renowned Noma and remains one of the world’s most creatively individual chefs, on how he plans not to conquer the world, but rather saving it.

RRTH: How do you enjoy working with W Samui?

MR: They are very professional, very well organized . Taking very good care of me, I’ve been around the region, first at W Bali in June (2018), then W Singapore. I’m loving it so far. 

RRTH: What is your opinion on integrating Thai ingredients to your cuisine? 
MR: Some of them I use. I have decided or change a few things on the menu (which will be presented at your dinner this evening). I visited a local Samui market this morning. Fresh coconuts was beautiful , some herbs for the duck which I will be preparing for our dinner. Where I prepare my food really matters, It won’t be the same experience eating the same food at different locations. For instance, drinking Italian wine in Italy gives you totally different experience and taste form having the same bottle elsewhere. 

RRTH: Please share your passion about “ turning food waste into treasure “ concept. 
MR: This is actually an Asian culture. It is a philosophy about not throwing things away. It’s not like I’m serving you garbages (laugh), but we get creative with the chosen food waste and turn them into quality cuisine. Did you know that in the US, 50% of food is gone to waste. This is unheard of in my world, and it’s wrong. The inspiration came when I was eating sushi in New York City. As I went through my omakase, I started to wonder what these sushi restaurants do with the leftover fish skins, so I began to source and buy them from one of those places. That’s how it all started.

RRTH: How do you plan to invade the world with Nordic cuisine ?

MR: (At my restaurant in NYC) I am not cooking Nordic. I engage more on adapting to local styles and tastes, while being true to my roots. The new concept we are starting in new York is fire and ice; just a fire pit and ice, at the bar. It’s hard to explain, you have to see it for yourself. I’m not trying to build a restaurant. Instead I’m trying to build a kitchen which integrates into a restaurant. For instance, having a dining table inside the kitchen will give you a very sincere feeling of the food that is being prepare for you. For me it’s about fun and interactiveness. The energy will be amazing.

RRTH: What’s the philosophy behind your success ?
MR: Just do what you love. I don’t care about Michelin Stars; it’s not what drives me. What drives me is what makes people happy, how I could make my team happy. If you’re happy person, you cook happy food, and the guests can feel it. 

In Danish we have a terminology called “hyyge". It’s about Cosiness that you can create; something you can bring to your friends. It’s about doing something nice to others. Thai people are like that. 

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Published 28th February 2019