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@Work: St. John Catering

May 17, 2009 — St. John Catering/Mathayom Private Chefs owner Mathayom Vacharat draws from his mixed Vietnamese-Thai and English-Irish heritage, plus his years cooking pizza and working at various St. John restaurants, to create an interesting menu.
"And just living here, I get all the Caribbean influence," says the 36-year-old St. John resident.
St. John Catering-Mathayom Private Chefs offers this eclectic cuisine in a variety of formats. Vacharat and his staff cater weddings, big events, small events, appetizers for a variety of situations, private dinners at vacation villas and homes, and food delivered to your door.
A look at the menus shows what's available. Grilled scallion and parmesan tartlets with roasted pepper and Thai basil catch your eye on the appetizer menu, but then there's the bourbon chipotle barbecue glaze coconut-lime real seafood salad with shrimp, local mahi and scallops on the informal chef/private delivery menu.
Save room for the panko-crusted pork schnitzel with parmesan potato rosti, winter radish salad and roasted vegetables from the formal private chef menu. Don't forget dessert — deep chocolate torte with strawberry sauce is on the informal private chef/gourmet delivery menu.
Vacharat began cooking for his family back in Philadelphia because his parents worked.
"The next real influence came in college at a pizza and sub place," he says, laughing.
He eventually graduated from Drexel University with a bachelor's degree in finance, but meanwhile the pizza and sub shop owners opened a catering company that did things like box lunches. Vacharat soon went to work there.
On a spring break, he and the woman who would become his wife, Andi, made a trip to St. John for a stay at Cinnamon Bay Campground.
He lined up a job at Café Roma, but unfortunately, 1995's Hurricane Marilyn hit the day after he and Andi arrived.
"But I felt the sense of community that happened after Marilyn, so we decided to stay," Vacharat says.
He got a job at the since long-closed Purple Door restaurant, but soon moved on to Café Roma when it reopened in Marilyn's aftermath. There he learned to sauté from Café Roma's chief Ivan Stoutt. When Stoutt moved on, Vacharat became Café Roma's chef, but soon added a part-time job at Asolare restaurant to his resume.
By 1998 he was sous chef, then chef, at Chateau Bordeaux. He then became the floating chef and finally the executive chef for Winston Bennett's group of restaurants, which included Chateau Bordeaux, Asolare, Paradiso, and Chloe and Bernard. That job segued into a position of general manager for the entire operation.
By then he was tired of restaurants and started "private cheffing" full time.
"I took the leap," he says.
Of course there are always challenge, including the availability of the fresh food he uses for his dishes, but Vacharat says that situation continues to improve.
While he may have the ingredients on hand, there are often challenges when he and his chef Tim Dotson go out to cook in a villa. Sometimes the power goes out, which puts the kibosh on using the villa's electric stove. Or sometimes the villa doesn't have a working stove.
"I'm used to thinking on the fly," he says. "I've baked a dessert cake on a grill."
In addition to Dotson, his office manager, Jen Hicney, rounds out the staff.
Andi Vacharat keeps tabs on the marketing and the website, but when the two are done for the day, they spend time with their son, Lyric, 5.
While St. John Catering/Mathayom Private Chefs and his family take up most of Vacharat's time, he still has energy to spend on his band. He plays drums with Shoot for Tuesday, with gigs playing around St. John.
"It's another creative outlet," he says.
For more information, visit stjohncatering.comor call Vacharat at 776-6117 or 998-8670.
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May 17, 2009 -- St. John Catering/Mathayom Private Chefs owner Mathayom Vacharat draws from his mixed Vietnamese-Thai and English-Irish heritage, plus his years cooking pizza and working at various St. John restaurants, to create an interesting menu.
"And just living here, I get all the Caribbean influence," says the 36-year-old St. John resident.
St. John Catering-Mathayom Private Chefs offers this eclectic cuisine in a variety of formats. Vacharat and his staff cater weddings, big events, small events, appetizers for a variety of situations, private dinners at vacation villas and homes, and food delivered to your door.
A look at the menus shows what's available. Grilled scallion and parmesan tartlets with roasted pepper and Thai basil catch your eye on the appetizer menu, but then there's the bourbon chipotle barbecue glaze coconut-lime real seafood salad with shrimp, local mahi and scallops on the informal chef/private delivery menu.
Save room for the panko-crusted pork schnitzel with parmesan potato rosti, winter radish salad and roasted vegetables from the formal private chef menu. Don't forget dessert -- deep chocolate torte with strawberry sauce is on the informal private chef/gourmet delivery menu.
Vacharat began cooking for his family back in Philadelphia because his parents worked.
"The next real influence came in college at a pizza and sub place," he says, laughing.
He eventually graduated from Drexel University with a bachelor's degree in finance, but meanwhile the pizza and sub shop owners opened a catering company that did things like box lunches. Vacharat soon went to work there.
On a spring break, he and the woman who would become his wife, Andi, made a trip to St. John for a stay at Cinnamon Bay Campground.
He lined up a job at Café Roma, but unfortunately, 1995's Hurricane Marilyn hit the day after he and Andi arrived.
"But I felt the sense of community that happened after Marilyn, so we decided to stay," Vacharat says.
He got a job at the since long-closed Purple Door restaurant, but soon moved on to Café Roma when it reopened in Marilyn's aftermath. There he learned to sauté from Café Roma's chief Ivan Stoutt. When Stoutt moved on, Vacharat became Café Roma's chef, but soon added a part-time job at Asolare restaurant to his resume.
By 1998 he was sous chef, then chef, at Chateau Bordeaux. He then became the floating chef and finally the executive chef for Winston Bennett's group of restaurants, which included Chateau Bordeaux, Asolare, Paradiso, and Chloe and Bernard. That job segued into a position of general manager for the entire operation.
By then he was tired of restaurants and started "private cheffing" full time.
"I took the leap," he says.
Of course there are always challenge, including the availability of the fresh food he uses for his dishes, but Vacharat says that situation continues to improve.
While he may have the ingredients on hand, there are often challenges when he and his chef Tim Dotson go out to cook in a villa. Sometimes the power goes out, which puts the kibosh on using the villa's electric stove. Or sometimes the villa doesn't have a working stove.
"I'm used to thinking on the fly," he says. "I've baked a dessert cake on a grill."
In addition to Dotson, his office manager, Jen Hicney, rounds out the staff.
Andi Vacharat keeps tabs on the marketing and the website, but when the two are done for the day, they spend time with their son, Lyric, 5.
While St. John Catering/Mathayom Private Chefs and his family take up most of Vacharat's time, he still has energy to spend on his band. He plays drums with Shoot for Tuesday, with gigs playing around St. John.
"It's another creative outlet," he says.
For more information, visit stjohncatering.comor call Vacharat at 776-6117 or 998-8670.
Back Talk Share your reaction to this news with other Source readers. Please include headline, your name and city and state/country or island where you reside.