A Taste of True Danish from the Outrigger Phuket Bakery
Denmark is well known for its dairy products, ‘Smørrebrød’ (open sandwich with toppings) and bread and pastries such as the ‘Danish’ (a Viennese bread usually topped with chocolate).
Not surprisingly the Danish is the second most popular pastry, after the croissant, among the breakfast choices at Outrigger Laguna Phuket Beach Resort, where Danish pastry chef Anders Olesen is in charge of the resort’s bakery.
There is a lot of baking to do in the mornings in Laguna Phuket for Anders and his team of bakers. Good then that Denmark is very strong in its bread culture. Sourdough is his specialty among dough-based favourites. He follows traditional artisan techniques.
Anders gained three years of five-star hotel experience in Asia before he moved to Outrigger in Phuket. He learned his profession at Tønder baking school in southern Denmark. The education took four years as every student had to take an apprenticeship, mixed with attending school for 40 weeks.
It was clear for Anders from an early age the he wanted to become a baker.
“I started in a bakery when I was 14 years old, working next to the school during weekends helping out in the bakery shop,” he recalls over coffee at the Voyager 47 Club Lounge (an exclusive retreat for Outrigger’s Club guests built overlooking the lagoon beside the resort).
A chef can choose between two alternatives: cooking food or baking the bread and pastries. The choice has a major consequence: the working hours (either starting very early in the morning or working late into the night.)
For Anders the choice was clear. “I’m a morning person. A normal chef will work in the evenings. Bakery chefs always work in the morning. That’s actually the reason. I don’t like to work to eleven, twelve o’clock at night.”
He appreciates the Outrigger way and being on Phuket island, which he finds relaxing.
“It’s the best job I’ve had in Asia so far; they take very good care of their staff. And I feel here it’s easy for me to get new equipment etc for our bakery kitchen. There is more support from the owner, in comparison.”
Home made chocolate is another specialty of Anders, and such temptations are available at Voyager 47 in the Outrigger.
The 255-key absolute beachfront holiday resort offers four dining outlets, plus the Voyager 47 lounge. All require bread and pastries of different kinds – including, for example, bread for hot dogs that are served poolside – all part of what Anders and his bakery team need to produce.
He says that Outrigger has a bread schedule and alternates between different kinds of loaves and rolls daily: from German and Scandinavian to French and Italian bread.
European nationalities, including Scandinavians, are part of the guest mix, in particular during high season.
“Yes, we have guests from Denmark, Norway and Sweden It’s a good mix from all over Europe and the world actually,” he says.
Peak season is here and Anders and his team are busy. He has to get back to the kitchen.
When visiting the Outrigger Laguna Phuket Beach Resort you stand a good chance of seeing Anders bringing out the freshly baked bread in the various restaurants. When you see him, rest assured that this guy is true Danish.
This profile by Joakim Persson first appeared in ScandAsia.com.