What’s tastier - Japanese rice or Thai rice?
Thai rice. But both are delicious.
How do you keep in touch with latest food trends?
Just hang out in town, and watching Youtube footage.
Have you ever created an entirely new dish?
Yes, that’s my job.
Greatest achievement to date?
Working in different countries, I have had many great experience and met many friends.
Famous people you’ve cooked for.
Beyonce, Jay Z, Leonard Dicaprio, Jimmy Page in New York City. Also HRH Princess Sirindhorn in Thailand.
Utensils you can’t do without?
Music you listen to while cooking?
Best advice you’ve ever received?
Don’t work too hard, enjoy cooking.
What’s your favorite dish to cook for yourself?
Japanese home cooked dish using my mother’s recipe.
If you weren’t a chef, what would you be?
What’s next for you?
IDK, just keep going.
Why cooking as a career?
I started work in a restaurant when I was 19 years old, but never expected it to become my career. Now, of course, I love cooking.
Two biggest influences on your career?
My first chef — and Anthony Bourdain.
Best early kitchen experience?
In my first restaurant at Kobe, Japan. I learned so much there.
Worst kitchen experience?
There are a few, but I believe any situation — good or bad — helps to make me grow as a chef.
Best meal you’ve ever had?
Authentic Jamaican cuisine at Port Antonio. It’s a small restaurant on the beach, where the chef waits for the fisherman’s daily catch, direct from the sea. The food was amazingly yummy.
What’s your cooking philosophy?
Cook with fresh products and a sense of season. And also a sense of gratitude for the food.
What’s your signature dish?
A combination of Japanese and international ingredients.
Classic Japanese cooking book about Kaiseki cuisine.
Most difficult ingredient to cook with?
Wild game meat, extra-large fish.
CHEF HISASHI IWATA
Executive Chef, Koi Restaurant Bangkok
Chef Hisashi Iwata is world-class sushi chef who is a celebrated veteran of Japanese Fusion cuisine. A longstanding member of the KOI family, he spent time at Koi Los Angeles and Koi New York as the Executive Sushi Chef of both establishments before joining Koi Bangkok as the Executive in 2010.
Koi Restaurant Bangkok 39 fl, Sathorn Square Building, 98 North Sathorn Rd., Silom, Bangrak, 10500 Bangkok, Thailand.
Opening Hours : Lunch 11.30am - 2.30pm (Mon-Sat),Dinner 6pm - 11.30pm (Mon-Sun).
Tel: 02 036 8899, 080 3535 197. Email: firstname.lastname@example.org
A raft of new rules and regulations from the Immigration Division combined with the strength of the Thai baht and the rising cost of living is forcing many westerners to consider relocating to Vietnam and Malaysia. Both are thought to be more expat-friendly and cheaper than Thailand.
Westerners who rely on pensions from overseas are feeling the pinch the most, with most foreign currencies at their lowest point against the baht for many decades.
In addition to higher day to day living costs, less income also affects the ability of retirees to maintain a substantial amount of money in their bank for several months, as is required by the authorities. More astute retirees get around this rule by proving they bring 65,000 baht into the country every month. This is permitted even though officials suggest it’s not.
Yet another hurdle are the health insurance requirements, which are proving difficult and expensive for anyone over 70 years old.
The solution for a growing number of older expats is to up sticks and relocate to cheaper and less bureaucratic neighbouring countries.
The BigChilli recently had a visit from a group of high-placed westerners who wanted to lodge a complaint about an item featured in a recent issue of the magazine. Basically, they didn’t approve of its content. It was suggested they write a letter which would appear in this publication. But they declined the offer.
The strange thing about this episode if that each member of this group comes from nations demanding free speech and freedom of the press in countries like Thailand. Yet when it suits them, they want censorship.
RIS Swiss Section Deutschsprachige Schule Bangkok
Principal Simon Dörig
Primary: all students will be led to multilingualism beginning with German and English. Bilingual English elements in selected subjects. Additionally, all students learn French from Grade 6 onwards up to the Matura.
Secondary: Subjects will be available in German, English and French and other basic classes. There also special weeks that allow students to explore learning that goes beyond the established curricular content.
Registration: 200,000 baht one time or 20,000 baht per semester.
Tuition: Nursery - Grade 12 starts from 300,000 - 645,000 baht per year.
Tel: 02 518 0340, 42-44
Singapore International School Bangkok
Nursery - kindergarten: all subjects taught revolve around themes and integrate all the curriculum standards of Socio-emotional development, Literacy, Science and Social studies and etc.
Primary: Uses renowned Singapore curriculum which is ranked top in the world for Math and Science.
Sixth Form: The Cambridge IGCSE offers a flexible and stimulating curriculum, supported with excellent resources and training. The curriculum helps improve performance by developing skills in creative thinking, enquiry and problem solving.
Tel: 02 158 9090
Australian International School
Head of primary school Gail Baker
Our educational program has been refined over the past 15 years through the collaborative efforts of skilled and passionate educators. Founded on the internationally recognized Australian Curriculum, we extensively incorporate inquiry based, real world, teaching and learning techniques that contribute to deep understanding and purposeful learning. We are continuously researching and incorporating the latest techniques and technologies based on sound teaching pedagogy.
At Ram Inthra: Registration: 50,000 baht.
Tuition: Nursery - Year 1: 48,500 baht per year.
Sukumvit Soi 20 and Soi 31 Campus: Registration: 60,000 baht.
Tuition: Nursery - Year 1 starts from 275,000 - 357,000 baht per year.
Sukhumvit 20 Tel: 02 663 5495 - 7
Sukhumvit 31 Tel: 02 662 2827 - 8
Ram Inthra Tel: 02 509 4276
Preparatory & Secondary School
Head of school Mr Duncan Stonehouse
Early Years: The curriculum is facilitated through our unique thematic topics and child-led learning experiences, introducing children to a stimulating and engaging school life; where enjoyment and exploration are the key ingredients in an approach that develops learning through play. The framework develops concepts, skills, learning strategies and positive attitudes across the intellectual, social and physical areas of learning.
Primary: The school teaches to the National Curriculum of England and Wales, modified to reflect the culture and society of Thailand and the Thai people. All of our teachers are fully qualified and experienced in the delivery of this curriculum and come from a wide variety of teaching backgrounds and experiences. Teaching and learning at Bangkok Prep follows an innovative thematic approach, where children learn within real life contexts which are underpinned with the academic rigour of the curriculum. This enables them to develop a set of skills that will help them to flourish as individuals.
Secondary: Offers a broad curriculum that builds on the English National Curriculum adapted to embrace the rich culture and diversity of Thailand and South East Asia. Each subject is taught in depth by specialist teachers. Students further specialise in their studies and take Advanced Level courses in three to five subjects. In addition to these courses students also follow a core curriculum of PSHE, Extended Project Qualification, Community Service and PE whilst support is given to ensure all students make well-informed and quality university applications.
Registration: Early Year: 50,000 baht.
Year 1-6: 140,000 baht.
Year 7-9: 95,000 baht.
Year 10-11: 40,000 baht.
Year 12-13: No registration fee.
Tuition: Early Years - Year 13 starts from 460,000 - 521,000 baht per year.
Bangok Pattana School
Chairman Dr Tej Bunnag
British-based, international curriculum encourages diversity. Providing a wide range of learning experiences and allowing students to explore and inquire, make our learning programmes highly successful. Students embrace diversity and place their own diversity into the world around them.
Application: 4,000 baht.
Entrance: First child 250,000 baht / second child 200,000 baht.
Tuition: Nursery - Year 13 starts from 432,000 - 622,700 baht per year.
Tel: 02 785 2200
Berkeley International School
Head of school Dr Lisa R. Johnson
Early Years: The skills learned in Kindergarten provide the foundation for success when students transition to Elementary (Grades 1-5) and beyond! Our integrated studies program allows teachers to plan for Phonics, Language Arts, and Mathematics and Social Science lessons in whole class, small group and individual settings. Learning is hands-on and takes into account visual, auditory and kinesthetic approaches.
Elementary: Our Elementary is dedicated to educating the whole child through fostering lifelong learning and healthy individual growth in a student-centered environment. This dedication can be seen both inside and outside of the classroom. Following the American Common Core Standards, we provide a rigorous program that is differentiated to challenge and meet the needs of all students. Classroom instruction is further extended to home through the use of specialized Internet reading and math resources. Periodic field trips are used to enhance and extend learning.
Secondary: Berkeley’s college preparatory high school will have their first graduating class in the spring of 2017. High school classes are based on a set of requirements set up to ensure matriculation to top universities and colleges around the world. Berkeley offers Advanced Placement classes to high achieving students. All students work with the counselor to develop a plan of courses to help them obtain entrance to the college of their choice. Like the Middle School, classes follow a block schedule of 80 minutes every other day. Students are given the choice of a variety of electives that include, Business Management, Mandarin, Spanish, Publication and Design, Psychology/Sociology and a Creative Arts Design class with graduation requirements following a standard American high school course of study. A learning support program is in place to support ESL and special needs students.
Application: 3,000 baht.
Registration: 200,000 baht.
Tuition: Pre K - Grade 12 starts from 461,422 - 717,158 baht per year.
Tel: 02 747 4888
Garden International School
Principal David Figes
Offer an extensive curriculum outside of the classroom. All children take part in swimming lessons and have the opportunity to be part of the Outdoor Education follows the National Curriculum of England for the older section, the Cambridge International Examinations IGCSE course which leads on the A-Level course. Students, after completing Year 13, can then continue their education at universities around the world.
Application: 4,000 baht.
Registration: Early years, Nursery and Reception: 60,000 baht.
Year 1-13: 108,000 baht.
Tuition: Early Years - Year 13 starts from 65,200 - 212,000 baht per semester.
Tel: 02 249 1880
Brighton College Bangkok
Head of school Mrs Vanessa Robitaille
Enjoy sports and performing arts, Children learn through play and magical experiences classrooms and outdoor spaces. Innovative and imaginative yet rooted in a desire to provide strong foundation in every subject. Achieve the highest possible grades and also prepare them fully for academic challenges of IGCSE. Encourage pupils to choose the subjects they enjoy and are good at. Supporting the pupils through the university application process with staff who are experts in delivering successful outcomes.
Application: 5,000 baht.
Admission: 200,000 baht.
Tuition: Pre nursery - Year 13 starts from 515,000 - 892,000 baht per year.
Tel: 02 136 7898
Primary - Sukhumvit 53
Secondary - Sukhumvit 77
KIS International School
Students at KIS learn through the International Baccalaureate (IB) programmes: the IB Primary Year Programme, IB Middle Years Programme and IB Diploma. The IB programmes are well respected around the world and focus on international understanding, critical thinking, learning how to learn, inquiry, contributing to a better world, and learning by doing. Students graduated from KIS are accepted at top universities around the world, often with scholarships.
Application: 5,500 Baht.
Registration: Year 1-2: 150,000 baht.
Year 3-10: 190,000 baht.
Year 11-12: 120,000 baht.
Tuition: Early Years - Grade 12 starts from 363,000 - 731,300 baht per year.
Tel: 02 274 3444
International Community School
Head master Stephen Ladas
Starting Elementary School with active and creative learning combined with an environment of fairness, caring and acceptance of each child. In Middle School has variety of care classes and electives. Effectively promote spiritual, emotional, physical, social and intellectual growth. Students in High School are challenged by an integration of biblical principles and college preparatory curriculum.
Application: 5,000 baht Registration: 200,000 baht.
Tuition: K4 - Grade 12 starts from 431,900 - 511,500
baht per year.
Tel: 02 338 0777
Harrow International School
Head master Jon Standen
Lower School: early years, take a play-based to learning and a strong emphasis on teaching care and concern for others.
Pre Prep: focuses on developing skills and attributes students read to become leaders for a better world. Core curriculum is divided into academic, leadership in action and pastoral.
Upper School: Prep School: a stimulating learning environment where students have the freedom to explore as well as acquire the specialist subjects knowledge that will be need as they progress through the school and beyond. Preparing students for the demand of the IGCSE programme. Encouraging the development of literacy mathematical and IT skills.
Sixth Form: students have an opportunity to choose subjects they enjoy and have the opportunity to specialize in more depth than IGCSE. Also academic scholarship are available for students with excellent IGCSE results.
Application: 5,000 baht.
Registration: 225,000 baht.
Tuition: Year 1 - Year 13 starts from 729,900 - 949,800 baht.
Tel: 02 503 7222
NIST International School
Head of school Brett Penny
Primary: allowing students to become confident and independent learners through play. As well as developing foundational language, mathematics, cognitive and physical skills.
Middle: building on the knowledge, skill and attitudes developed and prepares students for the rigor and requirement of the DP.
Diploma: the holistic development of students intellectually emotionally, physically and socially. Students must also meet several other care requirements in order to earn the IB diploma.
Application: 6,000 baht.
Registration: 265,000 baht.
Tuition: Year 1 - Year 13 starts from 533,700 - 961,400 baht per year.
Tel: 02 017 5888
Ruamrudee International School (RIS)
Head of school Dan Smith
Pre k: Based on the District of Columbia’s Curriculum core learning standards. These direct teachers’ instructional planning through developmentally appropriate guidelines that meet our children and their development stage.
Elementary: Beyond the core subjects of math, reading, writing, science and social studies, the students will have opportunities to experience and explore other interests and talents.
Middle: Subjects are guided by the American Education reaches out (AERO) standards. Elective choices in middle school include modern language, clubs and extracurricular activities.
High School: Modeled after an American curriculum, adapted and enriched to serve our international student population. Choosing from aboard selection of advanced courses currently over 50 IB classes and 20AP classes as well as an array of general courses and activities.
Application: 5,000 baht.
Registration: 200,000 baht.
Tuition: from Pre k - Grade 12 starts from 401,530 - 737,500 baht per year.
Tel: 02 791 8900
Lycée Français International de Bangkok
Kindergarten: The programs is structured in five areas:
•Mobilize language in all its dimensions
• Act, express, and understand through physical activities.
• Act, express, understand through artistic activities
• Build the first tools to structure the thought process
• Explore the world the school follows the French curriculum and teaches primarily in French.
However, the LFIB also give the children the opportunity to learn the English and Thai languages right from the primary level.
Elementary: www.lfib.ac.th/les-langues-en-elementaire/(available in French).
Secondary: www.lfib.ac.th/secondaire-college-lycee/(available French).
Application: 5,000 baht.
Registration: 150,000 baht.
Tuition: Kindergarten - High School starts from 226,329 - 321,392 baht per year for French and Thai
Kindergarten. High School starts from 285,459 - 390,174 baht per year for other nationalities.
Tel: 02 934 8008
Why did you decide to stay in Thailand?
I arrived in late 1992 a few months after the military coup and “Black May” killings of pro-democracy protestors on the streets around Democracy Monument (oh, the irony), during the kingdom’s “economic miracle” of double-digit growth rates. It was a hugely exciting boom era when the country was convulsed by social upheavals, cultural shifts, rabid consumerism, and wonderful economic opportunities. So I stuck around to witness and chronicle those changes, and make some glorious lucre into the bargain.
Please tell us a little bit about Farang Untamed Travel magazine.
It was the late Bobby McBlain, Cameron Cooper and myself, all refugees and friends from The Nation, who founded the magazine and became the first editors, shareholders and writers. When we started in 2001, I think there was a need for a publication that was edgier, funnier and more sensationalistic, but that also tried to reflect so many of the realities of travel – not the fantasies in the glossy magazines or that the tourism boards portray.
So we covered the dark side of Asian countries, too, the crime, scams, corruption, drug abuse, foreign inmates in Thai jails and the sad lives of child beggars at Angkor Wat, as well as sex on the road among travelers in the column “The Khaosan Stalker,” written by an expat woman. Above all, we tried to keep up a spontaneous approach. After the military coup of 2006 that deposed Thaksin, we were on deadline. Our managing editor Daniel Cooper got some photos of soldiers and tanks massing around government house at midnight and we decided to become the only travel mag ever to put a tank on the cover.
Then me, Dan and Cam wrote up a quick story about our different experiences during the coup that night, and how the CBC interviewed me on national radio about the event with their usual flurry of dramatic clichés, “As you approached the soldiers with their live weapons did you feel afraid for your life?” “Not really. The first thing I saw was an old Thai guy presenting the soldiers with a bouquet of roses, and the military announced the coup on TV by saying in Thai, ‘Sorry for the inconvenience…’”
Christian Schulz and fellow adventurers tackle one of Africa's mightiest ranges.
Having already cycled the slopes of mountainous Lesotho and Tanzania together during earlier African excursions, a well-travelled group of friends who met in Taiwan in the 90’s agreed that the Atlas Mountains in the northwest of the continent were worth exploring on our next trip.
The geological development of the Atlas Mountain formation was marked by a massive continental collision between the southern end of the Iberian Peninsula and the European plate, and it is not a continuous chain of mountains but a series of ranges separated by wide plateaus. The Atlas System extends some 2,500km across north-western Africa, spanning Morocco, Algeria, and Tunisia, creating a striking, sometimes harsh barrier between the arid Sahara and Morocco’s milder coastal climate. The middle and the most impressive of these ranges, with an average elevation of around 3000m, is called the High-Atlas. It begins close to the Atlantic in Agadir and runs in a jagged line northeast through the centre of the country encompassing some of the region’s most authentic pockets of culture as well as offering some of its best opportunities for cycling and hiking. Capped with snow throughout the winter months and cloaked with wildflowers through the summer, the rocky plateaus and lush valleys of Morocco’s Atlas Mountains provide a striking backdrop to outdoor adventures.
Marrakesh, the Moroccan Kingdom’s 4th largest City is the closest port of entry to the western part of the High-Atlas. This former imperial city in Western Morocco, is a major economic centre and home to mosques, palaces, and gardens. The medina is a densely packed, walled medieval city dating to the Berber Empire, with maze-like alleys where thriving souks (marketplaces) sell traditional textiles, pottery, and jewellery. A symbol of the city, and visible for miles, is the Moorish minaret of 12th-century Koutoubia Mosque.
With the dramatic announcement of the sale of retail travel giant Thomas Cook following their loss of £1.5 billion brings the blight of the travel agent community into the news once more. Last week Wall Street bank Citigroup advised investors to sell shares in the travel company.
Confidence that travel agents can survive in the age of DIY bookings online is paper thin.
The sheer convenience and ease of being able to explore, book flights and holidays online, with your loved ones participating in the process at home, at a time convenient to yourself, is very attractive to most
Gone are the days when you make a trip during office hours, to the travel agent on the high street. We knew it was the only way to book a holiday in the bad old days. Booking online then was a mystical and jargonistic and only accessible on airline-backed computer systems using special codes and trained staff. Most of us didn’t know where to start. Now it’s out with the laptop, sitting in bed in your pajamas, or on the settee with a cup of tea and it’s as easy as 1-2-3.
Some of my family own a travel company. Business is nothing what it used to be. My friends work in DMCs - that certainly isn’t what it used to be.
A high-profile BBC journalist speaking at a travel industry event, recently warned the travel industry that large, well-established brands no longer have the trust they once enjoyed. That is certainly true.
“We are living through a crisis of trust,” the journalist warned.
Today instead of listening to ‘experts’ or ‘institutions’, we now put more faith in the opinions of our colleagues, or friends on Facebook.
The BBC journalist also said, “We live in an age where feelings resonate more than facts. People now value empathy over expertise. You all need to work out what this means about how you should talk to customers.”
So it’s clear that selling travel has fundamentally changed, as was forecast. My fear along with many others is that we will be unable as an industry, to successfully make these enormous changes and invoke huge paradigm shifts to work out how to speak to people in a way that’s relevant to them. There’s a danger for any industry that doesn’t adapt quickly enough to new audiences. Remember Kodak.
Thomas Cook looks like the latest failure, but in the last 18 months there have been more retail failures than since the start of the century. Many brands have lost the art of communicating with the marketplace. They don’t know how to engage with customers.
My family are already talking about diversifying and moving into other areas of tourism and travel. I hope it’s not too late.
American university graduate who came home to fight for the Karens
Veteran correspondent Maxmilian Wechsler recalls some of his most exciting – and dangerous – assignments from the past two decades
“Most of my early articles concerned Myanmar, then commonly called Burma, where armed ethnic groups were and, in some cases, still are, involved in a lethal struggle with the ruling regime, at that time called the State Peace and Development Council (SPDC).
“A lot of the action actually took place in Thailand, which became a refuge for thousands of exiles. Some major armed ethnic militias were based on or very close to the Thai border. Dozens of exile-led political, women’s rights, human rights, civil society, media and other types of organizations were based in Thailand, as were a number of NGOs established to assist the refugee community.
“There were sizable exile communities in Bangkok, Mae Sot, Chiang Mai, Mae Hong Son, Mae Sariang, Sangkhlaburi and other places in Thailand. Some exiles made frequent trips across the border for various reasons.
“The articles below are presented in their original form, except for small editing changes made for clarity. Some photos have never been published before.”
To read OBITUARY: DAVID WINTERS- BEHIND HOLLYWOOD’S STARS (PART I): Click !!
He knew them all, from Elvis Presley and Diana Ross to Michael Jackson and Muhammad Ali
In a spectacular Hollywood career spanning more than six decades, there’s hardly a celebrity that David Winters didn’t direct, script, promote, choreograph or act, dance, sung, or partied with. Along the way, he had affairs and dalliances with a few too.
David, who spent 20 years of his later life in Bangkok, shot to fame as a feisty dancer and gang member of The Jets in the Academy Award-winning blockbuster musical ‘West Side Story’ in 1961 before expanding his portfolio with a host of musical productions and movies.
One of his last endeavors was a book ‘Tough Guys Do Dance’ detailing his life among the titans of Tinsel Town. It’s an amazing insider’s version of these Hollywood legends, no holds barred.
They include fascinating observations on Michael Jackson, Barbra Streisand, Elvis Presley, Diana Ross, Bobby Darin, Liza Minnelli, Frank Sinatra, Paul Newman, Marlon Brando, Paul Simon, Steve McQueen, John Wayne, Princess Grace of Monaco, Fred Astaire, Kirk Douglas, Sammy Davis Jr, Dean Martin, Woody Allen, Bob Hope, Alice Cooper, Tom Jones, Hugh Hefner, Pamela Anderson and many more.
After finding fame in the 1960s blockbuster West Side Story, actor-dancer David Winters went on to direct some of the world’s biggest celebrities. His later years were spent in Thailand, producing movies and writing his memoirs.
By Colin Hastings
Just the other day, I watched the opening sequence of West Side Story, one of the most celebrated Hollywood musical movies of all time. It’s a spectacular 20-minute series of song and dance routines performed on location among the seedy tenements of downtown New York by two rival gangs competing for control of the turf. The scene is set for a modern day Romeo and Juliet, complete with love, violence and ultimate tragedy.
It’s not the first time I’ve watched West Side Story in part or full. More likely, it’s the tenth or twelfth time, going right back to the movie’s launch in 1961 when my parents took my older brother and myself to the Odeon Leicester Square in London to be thrilled by this enduring legend of the silver screen. I was mesmerized by its exciting dancing and memorable songs, unashamedly in love with the leading ladies, and inexplicably drawn to the gang loyalties. Every few years since, I find myself returning to this amazing and ageless movie, and never fail to be captivated by its brilliance.
The moment I discovered some while back that David Winters, one of the principle actors and dancers in West Side Story had settled in Bangkok, I immediately went in search of the man. We eventually met up about two decades ago for an interview, which I wrote for an early edition of The BigChilli. It was a fascinating experience for me, of course, not just to talk about his life and career, his movie role as A-Rab, a memorably feisty member of The Jets, but to be in the presence of someone personally involved in a movie that had had such an impact on me.
We talked for hours, and like many others, I had the opportunity to share my thoughts and enthusiasm for West Side Story, which seemed to delight David.
We met up on many occasions thereafter, usually at the Windsor Suites on Sukhumvit 18, where he spent his later years, and as fellow Brits became good friends. He was a marvelous talker and I was a willing listener, more than happy to sit back and be entertained for hours by his endless accounts of world famous celebrities he had known, loved, disliked (never hated) and admired during an almost 70-year career in the movie business.