Jan Hollister is addicted to food and drink, but not in the conventional sense.
The Food and Beverage Executive Assistant Manager works at SALA Phuket Resort and Spa, in the north of the island, and said sharing food and drink with people was his complete passion.
“Sometimes it takes over, but I could think of worse addictions,” he said with a laugh.
Mr Hollister was born in Los Angeles, US, and has worked in the food and beverage industry in many locations around the world.
“The exploration for new techniques, the adventure of finding new ingredients, and sharing food you have discovered with friends and others has always excited me. While historical locations are interesting, cuisine is very reflective of the culture that is alive today.”
He said the exchange of ideas between himself and his team members allows for constant development and encouragement in the kitchen.
One thing he likes is the variety of guests he serves, and their stories.
“At any given time at the resort your can meet people from Europe, Africa, Mexico, and Asia that all have completely different backgrounds and experiences. It really keeps things interesting,” he said.
Situated on Mai Khao Beach, near the Phuket International Airport, SALA Phuket Resort and Spa is part of a group of resorts in the area who formed an alliance to market Northern Phuket and Mai Khao Beach. One of their events is Grapes and Grazing, a food and wine event, starting July 13.
But like any job, being a chef has its challenges and Mr Hollister must be disciplined, self aware, flexible and humble enough to make the necessary personal changes to ensure goals are achieved. Another big challenge is delays in projects, which Mr Hollister said could be frustrating.
And what about those who want to become a good chef?
Mr Hollister suggested finding a kitchen in a business that you like, and one where they have a good team.
“Keep your mouth shut, eyes open, volunteer to do everything, work hard, work fast, ask questions and take notes. Latch onto others you respect and follow their lead,” he said.
“One thing I have heard over and over the last year, and it’s taken a little while to stick – have a plan. While you may not always know where you want to be and what exactly you want to be doing in the future, take an active role in your own development. Constantly be in search of ways to develop yourself, not only professionally but also with life experience.”