Luxurious Magazine tries the Chefs kitchen experience at Pangkor Laut Resort
The Chefs Kitchen experience is a memorable fun-filled day that is a must try when you stay at Pangkor Laut Resort.
Your day starts at 8:30 am where you meet one of the highly trained chefs over a breakfast of your choosing. The breakfast is served to you within a private dining room filled with awards and cooking related items all designed to whet your appetite for the fun challenges to come. During this time you’re fully briefed on what you will be undertaking including the pleasant surprise that you’ll be catching the fish you’re going to cook from a floating fish farm!
9:15 you’re collected and led down to the jetty where a smart new motor cruiser/taxi takes off around the island, stopping for photographic opportunities along the way. Our stops included a friendly banter with a local fisherman and lots of fun at the front of the cruiser at high-speed. The fish farm is a unique construction being a grid of floating netted ponds filled with varying types and sizes of fish up to 30 kg. My choice of fish to cook was a Red Snapper, and after being led to the Snapper pond was handed a fishing road and told to go and catch my fish. This is not as easy as it sounds as these fish fight hard and two snapped lines later, a wet face and some minor embarrassment I asked for the large pole net and decided to cheat and scoop it out. Excellent fun and quite a sight looking at hundreds of exotic fish just a few feet from the grasp of your hand. My fish was then carefully bagged up, loaded and it was back to Pangkor Laut’s kitchen to take posession of my complementary apron and hat to prepare the appetizers and soups.
The designated cook was affectionately known as Chef ‘Mommy’, she’d been at Pangkor Laut for 20 years and was so confident and competent that even someone as ham-fisted as me in the kitchen was assured of creating something worthy of eating. All of the ingredients, spices etc were already prepared so all I needed to do was place the ingredients into the wok (in the correct order) stir, taste and sniff and ‘voila’ – soup!
Tandoori chicken was next to be prepared as this needed to be left for a few hours to marinate, liberal amounts of marinade applied to the chicken thighs, mixing in all the ingredients and spices and first stage was done.
The cooking was simple and enjoyable, and after being seated it was time to taste my Soup – I have to admit that I surprised myself with the result. Now starting to feel a little full after a great breakfast and soup that surely must have been cooked by the ‘Gods’, it was off to the Spa Village to relax and rejuvenate.
The Spa Village at Pangkor Laut has won countless international awards and accolades. Opened in 2002 by the world famous Luciano Pavarotti (who incidentally gave a private concert at Pangkor Laut and has a suite named in his honour), the Spa is a breathtaking combination of foliage, Malay architecture and water features. The Spa Village comprises a number of specially built structures designed to facilitate an extensive range of treatments from China, Japan, India, Thailand, Bali and of course Malaysia. These include eight treatment pavilions, a deluxe Balian Treatment Pavilion, three ‘Healing Huts’, which include Chinese Herbal, Ayurvedic and Malay Huts, two Bath Houses, three Spa Huts, three Nap Gazebos and a Spa Boutique. For those wishing to make their stay at Pangkok Laut just a bit more relaxing, there are 22 beautiful Spa Villas situated over the sea offering direct access to the Spa Village.
Now that you have a better idea of what the Spa Village consists of, let’s continue with the experience. The Spa Village staff were all very helpful and friendly and led me to the changing room where I chose my complimentary Sarong and prepared for phase one!
The first part of the treatment was a dip in the cold pool, starting with a walk through the waterfall and down the steps into the refreshingly water. Lush foliage, ornate columns and urns pouring water around you all helped to enhance the experience. I will admit that the water was cold enough to take my breath away, however others I spoke to that also tried the pool said it wasn’t as cold as I felt it was. Glad to be out of the pool, I was led to an area with four columns of steam for me to inhale, rich aromas and the warmth of the steam put me back on track for the next step of the Spa Experience.
It was then on to the Hot Spa with a cascading waterfall and made of large pebbles and smooth rocks. The feeling of cold to hot was wonderful and stretching out in this huge hot spa surrounded by lush greenery was blissfully relaxing.
I was then led to a Japanese Bath House to wash and scrub myself and then into another room where I was again washed by a Spa assistant on a bed with warm water and taken from there to the massage room for a 45 minute traditional Malay massage. The only words I can think of to best describe my massage was ‘Complete Relaxation’, I can’t recall the times I drifted off to sleep, the experience was so relaxing. What a way to spend an afternoon! A quick shower, change and sincere thanks to the wonderful ladies at the Spa Village and it was back to the kitchen to resume the Chefs Kitchen Experience.
Next step in the Chef’s Kitchen Experience was cooking the large prawns and other sea foods, Chef ‘Mommy’ updated me on the progress of the Tandoori Chicken marinating elsewhere in the huge kitchen, a small amount of chopping, mixing and frying and I was really starting to feel like a proper Chef, luckily for Chef ‘Mommy’ and others walking by I refrained from trying some exotic food tossing techniques with the pan.
Once the food was cooked to the high standards of our ever-present Chef, we were led back to the private dining room to continue with the culinary feast that included the Tandoori Chicken, the Red Snapper that I caught earlier and my freshly cooked prawns and other seafood. Once we had eaten as much as we could cope with, the Executive Chef presented us with two certificates for completing the course, a nice touch to help us remember the day.
Overall the Chef’s Kitchen Experience was a fun, relaxing and educational way to spend the day, even a kitchen novice like myself was made feel far more skilled than I was, and the resulting food was something not only to enjoy but also to be proud of.