The Baan Rim Pa Team
No other restaurant on Phuket can match the ultimate dining experiences provided by the Baan Rim Pa Group of restaurants. The group’s four restaraunts — Baan Rim Pa Kalim, Baan Rim Pa Patong, Joes Downstairs and Da Maurizio — are perched together just above the rocks of the Kalim Beach shoreline with spectacular, panoramic views from Patong Beach to Kalim Bay. Connected by a seaside scenic wooden staircase, each is unique in its own style, cuisine and ambience, but can be utilized either individually or as a total venue.
The Man Behind Baan Rim Pa
Founder & World Renowned Restaurateur
Tom McNamara first came to Phuket in 1988 to fish! Having been to Bora Bora and enjoyed the experience, he decided that Phuket must be ripe for gamefishing. Unfortunately, when he arrived, all local gamefishing experts told him that there were no marlin in the Andaman Sea around Phuket … on his first trip he caught a 280-pound marlin. Tom basically gets what he wants.
Having had one stroke of good luck, he thought that Phuket may be the place to find more, so he stayed. Many years later, Baan Rim Pa Piano Bar and Restaurant, and her two sister restaurants Da Maurizio Bar Ristorante and Joe’s Downstairs are a tribute to the man’s tenacity, attention to details and love of all things culinary.
Tom previously owned and ran restaurants in New York City, France, England and The Caribbean. Each had its own design, theme and flavour. In Phuket he decided that the only way to provide completely authentic Thai food was to search for recipes originally cooked only for the Thai Royal Family… authentic Royal Thai Cuisine. To achieve this, he managed to track down descendants of the original chefs for past Thai Royal Families. These recipes were only previously put together in The Grand Palace. His home at the time, on a small rocky outcrop overlooking Kalim Bay, became host to the many friends who popped by to try out these fabulous “new” recipes. Home turned into restaurant and Baan Rim Pa was born. The rest, as they say, is history.
In November 2008 Tom passed away after a long battle with cancer. Tom’s family along with close friend Khun Das who has managed the restaurants since their inception will carry on his legacy for many years to come.
Chalermpol (Das) Na Nakorn
When Das joined as General Manager at Baan Rim Pa, there was only one restaurant to oversee. How times have changed! Das now oversees four world-class restaurants — Baan Rim Pa Kalim, Baan Rim Pa Patong, Joe’s Downstairs and Da Maurizio Bar Ristorante — in his role as Managing Director.
After training in his hometown, Bangkok, Das secured a position in the Thai Restaurant of The Oriental Hotel. Here he met Charlie Amatyakul, the Head Chef at The Oriental and they became firm friends. A few years later, Tom McNamara stayed at The Oriental for three months, asked Charlie to help create Baan Rim Pa’s Royal Thai Cuisine menu and was recommended Das at the best person to manage the restaurant.
In the evening, Das can be seen walking around the four restaurants, making sure all is well. He is still totally hands on and often arranges V.I.P. events for large parties, many of which have special requests, not all of them straightforward. “We try to provide a personalised service”, he says. “At the end of the day, I am satisfied if the customers leave after having had a very good time and, of course, that the staff also feel happy and have done their best”.
The Baan Rim Pa Restaurant Group is considered to be the best of its kind on Phuket Island, and we all strive to live up to our reputation and the many awards we continually receive. We are proud of our history and what we have been able to achieve over the years as Phuket has grown and developed. We hope you enjoy your visit with us.
Pensiri (Pen) Tuangthong (McNamara)
Pen is the wife of the our late founder, Tom McNamara. Since Tom’s passing in 2008, she has taken an active role in the management and leadership of the Baan Rim Pa restaurant Group alongside of the M.D. Chalermpol (Das) NaNakorn.
Pen is found most nights in the restaurants overseeing the staff and greeting guests. She believes this is a family company and the staff are all part of the family which is what makes us a success which continues to grow year after year and why a lot of our staff have been with us for many years.
Maurizio Laureri has lived in an atmosphere filled with the sights, sounds and aromas of cooking since he was a young boy. His mother, Clara, sought his help in the kitchen and since a teenager he has traveled the globe seeking out new recipes, ideas and ways to make food even more enjoyable.
In the same way as Maurizio’s mother, and her mother before her, created her own sauces, adding her own spices and making the dish unique, Maurizio has done the same. Moving from London to New York City, running restaurants, creating dishes for his friends and catering for movie stars on set, Maurizio has never been tired of the art of cooking. It was in New York that Maurizio met Tom McNamara . . . a meeting that resulted in him moving to Phuket and opening Da Maurizio Bar Ristorante, under the umbrella of Tom’s Baan Rim Pa Group.
Da Maurizio Bar Ristorante has become an increasingly popular venue for island residents, who return time and again to see what new choices are on offer. Maurizio has played host to a wide variety of musicians, from a classical opera duo (Opera by the Sea) to a famed jazz pianist from the USA (Scotty Wright). Over the years, he has always tried to offer something new. In recent years, he has brought a more contemporary and innovative style to the cuisine working with Executive Chef Jared Hucks as well as such novelties as a new cocktail, a show from a musician who just happens to be passing through, or a sunset wedding ceremony on the beach. Maurizio can be seen greeting his guests, chatting and retelling stories of travel, wine and, of course, food.
Susanne (Sue) Ultmann
Executive Manager and Marketing Director
Australian born Sue Ultmann has lived and worked in Asia for more than 20 years. Before moving to Asia she spent 18 years as Associate Publisher of Australia’s leading travel industry publication “TravelWeek” magazine. This position sent her to many corners of the globe, promoting, writing and handling the advertising and marketing for the magazine.
With offices and staff in more than 23 countries Sue’s knowledge of working with many nationalities has assisted her since she decided to make Thailand her home. When joining the Baan Rim Pa Group of Restaurants, she took charge of advertising, marketing and public relations for the three restaurants.
Sue has been involved in bringing several television shows such as The Great Outdoors Australia, BBC’s Holiday show, The Travel Channel USA, Travel Asia and Beyond and Destination Thailand, just to name a few, along with many travel writers from all over the world to film and write about the group. Making the Baan Rim Pa Group’s name known worldwide is her main goal.
Group Sales and Marketing
Sujitra (Am) Suwankhoch
Sales & Marketing Assistant
Originally from Phang-Na Province, Am moved to Bangkok to study at Mahanakorn University of Technology where she completed her Bachelor’s degree in Business Computer.
After working for a year in Bangkok she moved to Phuket in 2007 to be closer to family and joined Baan Rim Pa Group as Sales and Marketing Assistant, responsible for advertising design and artwork.
At the time, although she had good computer skills, she had little experience in the area of advertising. Under the direction of Sue Ultmann she has learned quickly and become a great asset to the company. She works closely with the media assessing different types of media which may be of benefit to the restaurants.
Anamika (Tik) Jansamust
Sale & Marketing Executive
Original from Trang, she studied at Ramkhamhaeng University in Bangkok where she gained a Bachelor degree in BA English and Communications. She commenced her career 2005 with Asia Books in Bangkok before moving to Phuket where she joined Wine Connection. In 2013 she started her own business in property sales and rental.
Tik joined Baan Rim Pa Group in July 2015 as she was looking for a new challenge. Her position is working closely with the Executive Manager/Marketing Director in all facets of advertising/PR/Marketing. On a daily basis she visits hotels, tour operators and travel agents to keep them up to date on the happenings at Baan Rim Pa Group.
Executive Chef - Baan Rim Pa Patong
Originally from Trang in the south of Thailand, Chef Jaree studied cookery at Pranakorntai University in Bangkok before joining the famous Mandarin Oriental. When Baan Rim Pa was established in 1990, she was asked to join the small team by Khun Das (Baan Rim Pa’s Managing Director) who had also been seconded from Mandarin Oriental and has been here ever since.
Chef Jaree has always been a totally “hands on” chef and continues to thrive in the kitchen making sure her team keep to the highest standards and quality expected of “Royal Thai” cuisine. She runs a very tight ship with a small team of 17 in the kitchen. In high season they can produce up to 700 dishes in one day which can be a major challenge for any team.
If you ask her why she is still at Baan Rim Pa, her reply is simple, “I work for good people and I love to cook Thai food and I love Baan Rim Pa.”
Praiwan (Wan) Klongkleaw
Executive Chef - Baan Rim Pa Kalim
Originally from Chaiyabhaum in Issan, he is one of the original staff members of Baan Rim Pa. He joined on 1st June 1991 as a kitchen hand and cook, training under the famous Executive Chef Khun Charlie Amaatyakul from Oriental in Bangkok who came to Phuket to train the kitchen staff in Royal Thai cuisine. Khun Wan worked his way up through every level to become an expert in Royal Thai Cuisine and now has the senior position as Executive Chef at Baan Rim Pa Kalim
Executive Chef / Partner - Joe's Downstairs
Award winning Chef Aaron has been honored with numerous awards. He was born and raised in Oregon on the west coast of America, an area well known worldwide as a hotbed of talented Chefs and some of the finest restaurants today. Early in his culinary career, he worked in Switzerland under renowned French Chef Fabrice Stephany.
In 2000, Aaron attended the esteemed New England Culinary Institute, earning an Associate’s Degree in Culinary Arts and graduating at the top of his class. This positioned him for a job back on the West Coast in one of the top 5 restaurants in San Francisco, the Wolfgang Puck-partnered restaurant Hawthorne Lane where Aaron worked hand in hand with rising star Chef, Bridgette Batson.
Well versed in classic French, Italian, Asian, and Californian cuisines, Aaron focuses on using only the very freshest ingredients to prepare stunning, honest, culinary works of art. Coming off rave reviews from the San Francisco Chronicle, San Francisco Weekly and other California press, he was offered an opportunity to open the very well-reviewed Tiramisu in Bangkok for friend and Master Italian Chef /Restaurateur Pino Spinoso. Here Aaron wowed local press with his modern light approach to Italian cuisine unlike what had been before seen in Bangkok. He garnered impressive reviews from magazines such as The Bangkok Post, Elle, Sawasdee magazine, Big Chili, and BK magazine. He also did TV spots for The Nation Channel. Following his success at Tiramisu, he arrived on Phuket working at the Watermark Restaurant, where again his menu received great reviews.
After a brief consulting stint in Shanghai, China, Aaron returned to Phuket to join the Baan Rim Pa Group as executive chef at Joe’s Downstairs.
Songka (Ton) Saikang
Executive Chef - Da Maurizio Bar Ristorante
Songka finished school at Baanwungphu in Khonkaen province his home town before moving to Phuket. He joined Thai Naan restaurant in 1992 as cooks helper and realized his passion for cooking. He joined the Baan Rim Pa Restaurant Group as Chef helper at Da Maurizio restaurant in 1994 and has had the privilege of training under some very experienced international Chef’s.
His love and knowledge of Italian cooking is exceptional considering he has had no formal training. He loves to try new ideas which he has seen or read about and they never seem to disappoint the guests. He is proof that you do not have to be Italian to excel in Italian cuisine.
Restaurant Manager – Baan Rim Pa Patong
Originally from Phang Na Province, just north of Phuket Island, Suthee came to Phuket after school to find a job. He first worked at the Safari Hotel and Savoey Seafood before joining Baan Rim Pa, not ever imagining he would still be here after more than 15 years.
As with many of the team at Baan Rim Pa, Suthee has worked up through the ranks and he now holds the position as Restaurant Manager alongside Sithichai. It takes a good team to run such a special restaurant and Suthee always aims to help keep Baan Rim Pa at No.1.
Sitthichai (Gai) Kraithong
Restaurant Manager - Baan Rim Pa Kalim
Gai as he is known, is from Phang Nga province just north of Phuket. After he completed his education he moved to Phuket in search of a career. He joined the Patong Merlin Hotel where he spent 4 years working in different departments gaining experience and knowledge. Gai always knew, having good English skills was important and worked hard to improve his.
In 1999 he joined the Boathouse where he worked his way up to Restaurant Supervisor. After 8 years he was looking for a new challenge and joined the Baan Rim Pa Group as Manager of Joe’s South in Kata.
In 2009 he was promoted to Manager of Baan Rim Pa working side by side with Suthee. His bright personality and professional attitude to work gives him ability to assess situations and assist guests from around the world with their special requests. He always says, “the guests come first and it is our job to make sure they leave with fond memories of their visit to Baan Rim Pa.”
Thanin (Tonino) Permsab
Restaurant Manager - Joe's Downstairs
Thanin or “Tonino” as he has come to be known. Originally from Phang Nga, he moved to Phuket several years ago where he attended catering school and trained in some of the top hotels and restaurants on the island. He joined Da Maurizio Bar Ristorante in May 1995 as a Captain and was soon promoted to Restaurant Manager. A few years ago he added Joe’s Downstairs to his responsibilities and now concentrates solely as manager of Joe’s Downstairs.
His great personality and warm smile makes all the guests feel welcome. Nothing is too much for Tonino to try and ensure his guests are happy. Tonino loves to assist his guests with their special requests, not only from the menu but with advice on their holidays in Phuket and is always happy to recommend a good wine to accompany your meal.
Thatchathan (Tu) Juito
Manager - Da Maurizio Bar Ristorante
Originally from Phetchaburi province, he moved to Phuket after finishing College. He started work at Savoy restaurant in Patong as a waiter and then joined Lai Mai restaurant. In 1990, Too joined Da Maurizio Bar Ristorante as waiter and was later promoted to Captain.
His love and passion have proved him to be a great asset. He enjoys taking care of the guests and making sure they enjoy dining with us. He has worked hard to improve his English which is now excellent. Recently, Too was promoted to Assistant Manager and reports directly to the Managing Director.
Somjai (Jai) Muenpho
Assistant Manager - Da Maurizio Bar Ristorante
Another of the Group’s long term staff members, Somjai Muenpho, or Jai, is originally from Trang Provence. Jai joined in 1999 as a waiter. He had previously worked at Savoey Seafood and Lai Mai restaurants. After joining Da Maurizio he trained in different areas of the restaurant and became a captain, supervisor and is now assistant manager. He has a good presence with guests and likes to make sure they get the good service they deserve.
Athitaya (Ooy) Laosuwan
Originally from Khon Kean, Ooy joined Baan Rim Pa in the late 90’s as a waitress and progressed to training in the bar making cocktails and mixed drinks. When the wine cellar was introduced to Baan Rim Pa in 1999 she showed an interest in learning about wines. Although she left Baan Rim Pa to gain more experience she returned in 2011 and trained extensively in wines and was promoted to Sommelier.
Wimutta (Ta) Senasu
Ta joined Baan Rim Pa as a waitress in 2003. Every day she was serving wine to guests and became interested and began to learn how to pair wines with Thai food and recommend them to guests. She learnt how to take inventory and order the wines.
When the Director of Wine Randy Chin joined the group in 2007 he saw her potential and began training her along with other staff in weekly wine appreciation training sessions. Ta became extremely knowledgeable in both Old and New World wines and has a real passion for it and her job. She thrives on recommending wines from all over the world and has an amazing pallet. Ta has attended many outside training courses along with wine tastings and competitions. Recently she was promoted to Head Sommelier and oversees the wine purchasing for Baan Rim Pa Kalim.
Prasert Khunthongchan, Ph.D.
Pianist at Baan Rim Pa Patong
This is not just any ordinary piano player. Educated through high school at Benjamarachutis school, Nakhon Sri Thammarat Province and graduated from Songkhla Teacher College, Music Education Program 1980 in Hat Yai, Songkhla Province, Dr. Prasert started his music career as a band leader of The Experience at The Regency Hotel Hat Yai.
He has played as a resident in many well known hotels in Bangkok and moved to Phuket in 1993. Dr. Prasert’s aim was to get his masters degree in music which he did in 2008 at Ramkhamhaeng University followed by his Ph.D in 2013.
Since 2014 he has been Baan Rim Pa’s resident pianist and you will find him at the grand piano at Baan Rim Pa’s piano bar every night (except Mondays). He has become well known and well liked for his outgoing personality and willingness to play guests selections.
Chatri (Louise) Roekbanleng
Pianist at Baan Rim Pa Kalim
Louise has a long history in music and has played with some top bands whilst touring around Thailand and Asia. During his career he has worked at some of Bangkok’s top hotels. He supported the Ronna Reeves Country Band, daughter of the famous Jim Reeves, in concert in Bangkok. He also played with Van McCoy American Band in concert in Malaysia.
Louise has toured extensively and plays several types of music from Rock, Country, Swing, Classics, Jazz and anything else in between. He is an amazing pianist and a lot of fun. A real professional who loves his music and loves entertaining.