Upon its opening in 1995, Chiva-Som International Health Resort set a new benchmark for destination spas around the world. Over 20 years later, this award-winning Thai resort continues to be the ultimate sunshine-fuelled wellness retreat, where good nutrition is always on the menu.
Chiva-Som was founded by Boonchu Rojanastien as a weekend escape for his friends and family, away from the fast pace of Bangkok city. His motto “Above all, enjoy your life” soon led him to extend his unique idea to a wider circle of like-minded individuals, before deciding to open Chiva-Som – meaning ‘Haven of Life’ – to help guests from around the world return to caring for their health and wellbeing with a luxury spa holiday in Thailand.
Arriving at Chiva-Som International Health Resort signals the beginning of a personalised wellness journey. Your individual programme will be based on ingredients within six Wellness Modalities: Spa, Physiotherapy, Holistic Health, Fitness, Aesthetic Beauty and Nutrition. A health and wellness advisor will clarify your goals, allow you time for self-reflection and initiate the start of your bespoke Chiva-Som experience.
A key element in Chiva-Som’s wellness plan is nutrition. Viewed as a foundation of health, as well as a source of pleasure, it’s believed food should satisfy both your hunger and your senses. We spoke to Food & Beverage Director at Chiva-Som, Paisarn Cheewinsiriwat, about how good food is key in your personal wellness journey, and why you should indulge in a luxury wellness holiday at Chiva-Som:
You have been a successful chef for many years. What inspired you to look deeper into the nutritional value of your cuisine?
Being a chef for so long has given me the chance to see the benefits of healthy food and its impact on the wellbeing of our guests. Over the past 15 years, I have had the opportunity to develop unique food concepts and witness the outcome first-hand through our guests’ fantastic results.
What did you find most exciting about joining Chiva-Som?
Chiva-Som has given me and my team the creative freedom to experiment and develop new ideas that are outside of the box; this was a major attraction for me.
The recipes from your menu, including the Chiva-Som Muesli and Coconut Sorbet, feature a collection of raw ingredients. How do these help to enhance your cuisine?
Raw ingredients in their natural form provide the most, in terms of nutrition and health benefits. At Chiva-Som, we try to retain these as much as we can within our dishes, while also maintaining the right balance of cooked and raw ingredients for an all-round delicious dining experience.
Which dish from Chiva-Som’s world-renowned menu is your personal favourite?
My favourite dish is the steamed sea bass with Thai herbs. This requires lots of fresh ingredients, with the fish cooked in a simple, but effective way, highlighting the true individual flavours of each component.
For those looking to begin their own wellness journey, what would you advise they incorporate into their diet and lifestyle?
I think everyone should be aware of how much food they consume during meal times. Portion control and self-awareness of being full avoids overeating. Our brain receives the ‘being full’ signal late from the stomach, so it is important we pay attention to how much we eat, listening to our bodies and providing them with what they require.