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Phuket's Trisara moves the dial on sustainable fine dining

Local produce and innovative techniques are revolutionising Phuket’s fine dining scene. We caught up with the chefs cooking up a storm 


Phuket's Trisara moves the dial on sustainable fine dining

PRU executive chef Jimmy Ophorst (centre) and team


On the sunny northwest coast of Phuket, a tangle of herbs, veggies, flowers and fruit flutter in the light breeze. There’s sweet basil and snow peas, hibiscus and cucumbers, mulberries and lettuces. Hens peck in the dust and ducks waddle their way to the small lakes set amongst the crops. This is the Pru Jampa organic farm, 1.6 hectares of local produce that will be harvested and combined into dishes at nearby Trisara, a plush beachside holiday resort.


Trisara, a luxury resort in Nai Thon Bay, and its signature restaurant, Michelin-starred PRU (Plant. Raise. Understand.), is spearheading a sustainable dining movement in its home of Phuket. 


Also involved in the project is PRU's sister establishment Jampa, a recently opened dining space which is part of the wellness community at residential development, Tri Vananda. Both Tri Vananda and Trisara are owned by hospitality company Montara.


The two restaurants source a substantial amount of their produce from the Pru Jampa organic farm. Montara describes the concept as ‘human-centric hospitality’, or community-to-fork dining, encouraging open interactions between guests and chefs. 


Phuket's Trisara moves the dial on sustainable fine dining

The restaurants source their ingredients from the 1.6 hectare Pru Jampa organic farm


Both restaurants espouse a zero-waste, farm-to-table approach. PRU is led by Dutch-born chef Jimmy Ophorst, a renowned advocate for Thailand’s nascent farm-to-table movement. Ophorst arrived in Thailand in 2012 and launched Seafood at Trisara before moving to Gaggan in Bangkok. Now at PRU, he espouses a ‘dine good, do good’ philosophy, prioritising local seasonal ingredients and minimising waste. 


Helming Jampa is fellow Dutchman Rick Dingen. After winning a Michelin star at Bangkok’s Savelberg, he moved to Haoma and then Madison, also in Bangkok, before joining the Montara team to launch Jampa. He also embraces a ‘local is best’ philosophy when it comes to ingredients.


And the proof of this farm-to-table strategy is in the pudding; PRU is a Michelin-starred restaurant since 2019, a Michelin Green Star winner since 2021 and is ranked on Asia’s 100 Best Restaurants list. Jampa meanwhile was awarded a Michelin Green Star in its first year of operation in 2022. 


The venues are now joined by two new concepts that are opening at the Trisara resort; beachside restaurant Cielo showcases contemporary Mediterranean dishes and Seafood at Trisara (SaT) offers a Thai homestyle dining experience using recipes passed down through the generations. Like PRU and Jampa, both restaurants prioritise ingredients sourced from local farmers and producers.


We spoke with Ophorst, Dingen and Cielo head chef Worawit “Notty” Rattanachoochoke to find how the Phuket dining scene is changing.


To be the only Michelin-starred restaurant on the island is quite an achievement. What sets PRU apart from other fine dining spaces in Phuket?

Chef Jimmy Ophorst, PRU: We try to offer a unique dining experience using flavours our guests maybe haven’t experienced before. Maintaining our Michelin-star status means continually working to create a better guest experience, day in, day out.



Would you say the level of dining in Phuket is improving?

JO: Definitely. Since Covid, we’ve seen a lot of high end restaurants open on the island. Phuket has become something more than just a beach destination, it’s got a lot to offer on a culinary level.


Chef Rick Dingen, Jampa: Phuket’s seen a notable improvement in recent years, with a growing number of establishments focusing on quality and innovation. Phuket may not yet rival culinary capitals, but there’s a palpable effort to elevate the dining experience.



How popular is sustainable dining in Phuket?

JO: There’s work to be done convincing the industry that sustainable dining is an important concept for the island. There are some restaurants and hotels that are doing it very well, but others, especially the hotels, have a long way to go.


RD: It’s gaining traction. Visitors are increasingly seeking establishments that prioritise sustainability in their practices, from sourcing ingredients to reducing waste.



What about fine dining, is this in tune with Phuket’s current tourist demographic?

JO: We’ve got a long way to go before Phuket becomes a dining destination, but for sure the direction has changed. Increasingly people are coming here to enjoy good quality food as well.


RD: The island caters to a diverse range of visitors, including those who appreciate upscale dining options. However, fine dining restaurants must align with the evolving preferences of the tourists. Incorporating local flavours and cultural elements to create a unique experience is something that resonates with today’s travellers. 


Phuket's Trisara moves the dial on sustainable fine dining

Down on the farm - Jampa's head chef Rick Dingen


Can you expand on the ‘live fire’ cooking that Jampa uses - why this technique?

RD: Cooking over an open flame or hot coals adds a distinct smoky flavour to the food that’s hard to replicate with other cooking methods. The smokiness enhances the natural flavours of the ingredients and creates a depth of taste that’s satisfying and delicious. 



What are the highlights of the menu at Jampa?

RD: I like to work with vegetables and combine them with seafood or other protein. Highlights include our beetroot and watermelon dishes, both are mainly plant-based with the addition of fishbone sauce or dry smoked fish. I like to surprise guests with unusual cooking methods and flavours.



Has the launch of Mediterranean-influenced Cielo led to a diversification of the crops planted at Pru Jampa farm?

Chef Worawit “Notty” Rattanachoochoke: At Cielo we use what’s already available at the farm, but I’m also working with the farmers on some new strains of lemon and tomato. Both are staples in Mediterranean cooking.



What sort of seasonal ingredients should guests be looking out for on the menus?

WNR: We’re determined to highlight ingredients local to southern Thailand. I’d highlight our tiger prawns from Surat Thani, Phang Nga crab, squid and a range of local fish from the Andaman Sea and beef short ribs from Chumphon.



What are the highlights of the SaT menu?

WNR: The set menu is a journey of discovery that invites the guests to explore and experience off-the-beaten-track southern Thai dishes that guests may not be familiar with, such as Gaeng Som Pla Gao, a mix of spicy sour broth with grouper fillet, baby mangosteen and hot basil, and steamed grouper from the Andaman served in a tasty and spicy, red curry-based broth served with baby mangosteen from Nakhon Si Thammarat. Mangosteen is an unusual fruit to be served but it helps to balance out the spiciness with something slightly sour.


As Rattanachoochoke sums it up, “Trisara is not merely a destination, but an immersive journey into the future of sustainable dining.” For more information or to make a reservation at PRU, Jampa, Cielo or SaT, head online


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