by Dr. Iain
brightest ‘new’ restaurant in Pattaya is The Bay at the Dusit Resort.
The brightest new chef in Pattaya is Silvio Mutzner, who resplendent in a
bright yellow chef’s jacket, is the man tasked with overseeing this
restaurant. Silvio has worked all over the world, but has found that
Thailand has a special attraction.
His name is interesting - an Italian first name and a
(Swiss) German surname. Apparently his maternal grandfather was Italian,
and when Silvio’s Swiss father wanted the new baby called Stefan after
himself, his mother said no, so Silvio Stefan Mutzner was the compromise.
Despite the confusing names, Silvio is Swiss, born
close to the Austrian and German borders, the youngest child, having two
elder sisters. His father ran a carpet warehouse and his mother worked in
the office of the family business, but there was an interest in the
hospitality business, with both his elder sisters going on to work in
By the time Silvio was 13 he was sure that he wanted to
be either a cook or a baker. Carpets held no interest for him at all. His
elder sister arranged for him to have some work experience in a hotel
kitchen and he sampled the life from the point of view of both cooking and
baking. “You have to get up too early in the morning in the bakery, so I
decided on being a chef,” said Silvio.
So the young man who liked to sleep in began a three
year apprenticeship in a cooking school in Switzerland. This was after
Mutzner senior gave up trying to get his son working in the carpet
Silvio found immediately that he had made the correct
choice. Right from the beginning, from the most lowly positions in the
kitchens, he loved it! Both practical and theory held a fascination for
the young man.
After graduation he did as many chefs do in
Switzerland, alternating between the different regions of the country for
the summer and winter seasons. For Silvio, this meant that he would spend
six months of the year in the French speaking side, and then the next six
months in the Italian speaking regions. “I learned Italian and brushed
up on my French, and also learned more about French and Italian
cuisines.” (His personal favourite is Italian, as he considers that
French cooking is too heavy.) This lifestyle was to be his work for the
next five years, but the young man already had his sights set on working
“One of my dreams was to see the world. With the job
that I had you can do it, see foreign countries and cultures. My dream
came true with the offer of a job in Canada,” said Silvio.
This position was in a hotel in the Rocky Mountains.
“It was absolutely beautiful and fantastic scenery. I was working with
people from all over the world, and this mixture of people was what (I now
know) I really liked.”
After 15 months his contract ran out and he returned to
Switzerland, but the travel bug had bitten by then, and it was not long
before he was on a plane to the other side of the world, to work in
However, this came as a culture shock for Silvio.
“Australia was too big for me. After three weeks I wanted to go home!”
(You must remember that Switzerland is a country you can drive through in
a few hours, whilst Australia is an island that takes six hours to fly
across from the west coast to the east coast. For comparison, Bangkok to
Perth in Western Australia is only seven hours.)
Fortunately for his employers, the visa situation meant
that he had to stay, and after two years he enjoyed it so much that he
spent the next five months travelling around the great sunburned land
down-under. “Travelling there was beautiful. I went everywhere except
Darwin, and I’ll probably go back down-under again when I have holidays
next year,” he said.
After five months travelling he returned home. He had
not been homesick, but looked forward to meeting up with his family and
friends. Silvio did also mention one situation we have all experienced -
when you live overseas you always get plenty of visitors from your home
country, many of whom were never close friends when you lived there!
As well as his dream of travel, Silvio had another aim
in life. “My second dream was to have my own restaurant, and in 1999 I
opened my restaurant, with my younger sister, in our home town of
Altstaetten.” His second dream was not a nightmare, but as the years
rolled on he found there were many down sides to it. “It was a good
experience, but honestly not for a lifetime. In Switzerland there are so
many regulations and other problems such as taxation, insurance and
superannuation for the staff.” After four years, Silvio and his sister
decided they would get out.
By now it was 2003 and Silvio had to make some career
decisions for himself. “For the first time in my life I didn’t know
what to do. I had a friend working in Thailand on Koh Samui who asked me
if I wanted to work in Thailand, but to start with I said no.” Silvio
went on to mention that for a chef to work overseas, it is more than just
cooking. “It’s the language (problems) and just living abroad,” he
Eventually his friend talked him into it and he arrived
in Koh Samui and then Koh Yao, but the hotels were not yet finished and he
returned to Switzerland. However, he soon found that he was missing
Thailand, “The culture and friendliness of the people. Everybody
laughing and smiling and the helpfulness of the Thais.” And he very
quickly found the position at the Dusit Resort and returned to the
I have the feeling he will be here for some time to come!