Dutch chefs Jimmy Ophorst and Rick Dingen are setting new standards for sustainable fine dining on Phuket via MICHELIN-starred culinary skills.
The two combine flair and finesse when it comes to taking eco-conscious dining to the next level on the Thai paradise island.
Ophorst runs the show at PRU, the signature dining venue at Trisara, one of Phuket’s most exclusive resorts. Dingen, meanwhile, oversees the kitchen at Jampa, which follows a philosophy of “local ingredients, live fire, and zero waste cuisine” at Tri Vananda, a US$182 million wellness community taking shape in the verdant forests of northern Phuket.
The pair share nationality and a desire to promote a seasonal, sustainable food ecosystem. Both were recognized at the MICHELIN Guide Thailand Star Revelation 2023 at the end of last year, with PRU retaining its 1 MICHELIN Star and MICHELIN Green Star; and Jampa earning a MICHELIN Green Star for its zero-waste, plant-based food.
“Sustainability is the heart of our business,” says Ophorst who, at PRU, steers the only venue in Phuket with a MICHELIN star. “It’s integral to our restaurants and our lives.”
Both Trisara and Tri Vananda are owned by Montara Hospitality Group, a firm that has earned a reputation for prioritising sustainability at Trisara and through its 16,000 sqm Pru Jampa organic farm, located within the Tri Vananda boundaries.
And the two chefs are united by a shared eco-friendly philosophy that promotes a balanced food ecosystem without compromising creativity.
At PRU, Thai ingredients are shaped into bewitching gourmet creations that draw inspiration from both the east and west. The venue’s name — an acronym for Plant. Raise. Understand. — provides a solid clue as to its overriding philosophy. Ingredients are 100% sourced from within Thailand, with much of the organic produce grown at the Pru Jampa farm.
PRU retained its 1 star at the MICHELIN Guide Thailand Star Revelation and remains the only restaurant outside Bangkok in Thailand to attain the prestigious status. PRU was also the first restaurant in Thailand to receive the MICHELIN Green Star.
“There’s a huge interest among the public in dining experiences that support local communities and showcase amazing Thai produce,” he said. “I look forward to furthering our commitment to sustainable cooking and sourcing and delighting guests through innovation.”
Over at Tri Vananda, Jampa innovates by using live fire to transform local ingredients — many of which, just like at PRU, are sourced from the Pru Jampa organic farm — into healthy and balanced, yet resolutely elevated, culinary creations.
“I aim to showcase locally sourced, seasonal ingredients in the best way possible,” says Dingen, whose hyper-local, plant-focused, zero-waste cuisine is marking him out as a rising star in Thailand.
Dingen is known for his commitment to zero waste and he aims to make Jampa the first venue in Phuket to achieve a zero-waste-to-landfill ratio.
“We want to exert the absolute minimal impact upon the earth and our aim is to break down our kitchen waste to ensure nothing goes to landfill,” he said.
The success of the two restaurants is in line with the aims of Montara Hospitality’s “Dine Good, Do Good” concept, which it has rolled out across all its F&B outlets.