Maria Elia at Pattaya Gourmet Food Festival

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We asked the Executive Chef of Joe’s Restaurant in London to write about her recent experience at Amari Orchid Pattaya’s 2nd annual Gourmet Festival at Mantra Restaurant and Bar.

My name’s Maria Elia and I am a chef from the UK. Here’s a little bit about me…

I’m totally in love with cooking and have been since I was four years old (quite a few years ago!!). I used to finish nursery school and visit my parent’s restaurant where I’d sit and watch my dad cook. My love affair with cooking has blossomed ever since.

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Last March, I travelled to Thailand to take part in the second Pattaya Gourmet Festival. I’d first been there fifteen years ago where I spent eight weeks travelling around the country. It was my first introduction to Asian food and I have been fascinated by their culinary offerings ever since.

This year’s event was a fantastic week-long celebration of great food and wines. It was such a great experience to meet the other chefs: Steven Snow from Australia, Chan Kam Yuen from Hong Kong and the very handsome Yannick Ollivier Cayrol from France! We shared a prep kitchen and got along famously.

Throughout the week, we each created dishes and canapes for various wine tasting dinners. I served seared scallops with soutzouki (a spiced Greek sausage) and watermelon with an oregano raisin dressing as a third course. It matched the Sauvignon Blanc beautifully.

The Grand Finale dinner was a great success. All four guest chefs along with Kai the Amari Orchid Pattaya’s Executive Chef cooking a course. I prepared the sixth course: Rabbit three ways with a Greek twist!

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It was a perfect way to end a spectacular week and all of us were sad to say goodbye to our wonderful Thai chef assistants- who couldn’t have helped us more.

The service at the Amari Orchid Pattaya is second to none, we were so well looked after. My room was luxurious, modern and spacious- overlooking the beautiful garden and pools. One of most favourite thing about the hotel- the scent of fresh Jasmine flowers everywhere!

I had the most amazing adventure and was thrilled to be part of the festival. I learnt a lot and my taste buds were totally inspired!

Thank you Amari for being the most perfect hosts

Find out more about Mari Elia at www.thisismariaelia.com or follower her on Twitter at @thisismariaelia.com

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