From the Hotel Upper Lobby, turn right towards Portofino
Open time: Daily 6-11 pm
Resevation: 0 7637 0100www.lemeridienphuketbeachresort.com
Internationally-awarded restaurant with authentic regional Italian specialities
About Chef Jacopo Di Michele
Jacopo Di Michele, the current head chef of Portofino restaurant, already has a long history in the kitchen – the place he likes best.
Growing up in Italy he was always surrounded by the art of food, but it is not for everyone. But from the start of culinary school, aged 14, Jacopo started working in kitchens during summer vacations when restaurants in Italy needed staff. The hotels he worked in were typically located on the beautiful east coast of Italy, more specifically Abruzzo, famous for tourism in the summer.
During this period he was lucky to learn the basics, cooking technique, food preparation and so on. After graduating, at 19, Jacopo moved to Ibiza, a destination famous among the jet-set of the world. In Ibiza, he worked in restaurants in the yacht marina catering, to the elite and famous of Europe.
There he started to really learn the fine arts of cooking and finer Mediterranean cuisine. Most importantly he gained confidence and fluency with finer ingredients and in leading a kitchen.
After three years in Ibiza Jacopo wanted to fly with his own wings and opened his own restaurant. It was a beautiful two-year experience of traditional Italian food. But something was growing inside of Jacopo, the urge to try new things and travel. Italy was a bit too conservative for him. He went back to Ibiza for another three years, but it was still not enough.
At this point he looked east – far away. Ibiza was very seasonal so in the winters he had always travelled in South America and especially South East Asia, and he was in love. So on one of his trips in Thailand, a friend told him about an opportunity. An Italian company called Zanotti was opening a new restaurant in Bangkok. It would give him the chance to work around in South East Asia. He took the chance!
Since then he has been head chef for four years in restaurants in Thailand and Myammar. Again the urge for something new grew in Jacopo; he wanted to try working in a hotel and a resort. So he ended up in the beautiful Portofino in Le Meridien Phuket Beach Resort where he has been raising the level and reputation of the restaurant since his arrival – with wine dinners, Michelin guest chefs and much more.