“I cook because it fills something inside me,” said Chef Don Lawson in a recent interview. “There’s no better feeling of satisfaction and gratitude than knowing my guests are leaving with the feeling Wow. That was a wonderful experience.”
Chef Don is based on the island of Koh Samui in the Gulf of Siam at Anantara’s Bophut Resort and Spa, where he has free rein to dish up distinctive Thai and Italian flavors for guests. He has been at Bophut since it opened in 2004.
“To be successful,” he adds, “you have to be 100% committed and instead of counting up the long hours I put in, I stack up the results to remind myself just how far I’ve come.”
He’s a stickler for perfection and just as adamant about pushing the envelope when it comes to food.
“If you never try, you never know. As a chef, it’s essential to never get discouraged. As I say to my students, if you make a mistake in cooking – as we all have – think what an amazing lesson you’ve just learned and use that to your advantage.”
He recalls his first monthly pay cheque of 80 Australian dollars as a 17-year-old apprentice at the famous Southern Cross Club in Canberra, Australia. “The money didn’t last long but it felt good being paid for doing something I love. And with a bit of extra effort to show how serous I was about progressing, the executive chef saw my potential.”
His recent infused paring with tea giants Dilmoth, he also inspired an Anantara Tea Guru program. This flair has become instrumental part of a dedicated team of culinary experts at Anantara in developing new concepts and signature dishes.
Chef Don’s culinary creativity has taken him to all four corners of the globe and his initiatives are now seen at Anantara resorts, setting a benchmark for new and innovative dining concepts.