Four Seasons Tenure
- Since 2014
- First Four Seasons Assignment: Chef de Cuisine, Four Seasons Resort Bali at Jimbaran Bay
- Four Seasons Resort Bali at Sayan; Four Seasons Resort Bali at Jimbaran Bay; Intercontinental Melbourne; Crown Resort and Casino Melbourne
- Brisbane, Australia
- Culinary School Cert 4 in commercial cookery
Specialising in Asian and modern Australian cuisine, Liam Nealon brings a fresh approach to Four Seasons Resort Chiang Mai. “Each menu must have a story behind it – whether it’s a memory, a time or an experience,” he explains. “My food philosophy is ‘less is more.’ I love simple, clean flavours.”
Liam’s mantra is to let the ingredients shine. In fact, his dedication to personally sourcing the best produce even landed him in hospital in a previous role. A trained beekeeper, Liam used to harvest honey at a rooftop aviary, refusing to wear a beekeeper’s suit because it kept him from tasting the honey. He was also blissfully unaware that he was allergic to bee stings – until the day he accidentally upset the hive. “I was chased by a swarm of bees into the corridor, and bitten by a few. It was funny afterwards. But at the time, my hand blew up to about three times the normal size and I had to go to hospital for treatment,” he recalls. Even this mishap couldn’t keep Liam from going back to harvesting honey – but this time, with a beekeeper’s suit on.
Before coming to Chiang Mai, Liam worked as Executive Sous Chef at Four Seasons Resort Bali at Sayan and as Chef de Cuisine at Four Seasons Resort Bali at Jimbaran Bay, where he introduced an Asian-inspired menu at Sundara Beach Club and Restaurant, adding his special twist to regional classics. He also created an innovative sharing menu for poolside and daybed grazing.
Liam’s culinary training started early. Born in Brisbane, Australia, he was raised in a household full of good food – both his parents were enthusiastic home cooks. In fact, Liam’s father had always wanted to be a chef, and the stories he told his son planted the seed for Liam’s culinary career. After working at an Asian restaurant in his hometown, Liam went to London, followed by Bordeaux, where he successfully opened a modern Asian restaurant in a traditional community that was just starting to explore foreign cuisines. He then spent two years in Hong Kong and four years back in Australia – this time at Melbourne – where he continued to focus on Asian techniques and flavours in senior chef roles.
Liam is excited to be in Chiang Mai, and is inspired by Thai cuisine. One of his favourite local specialties is yum pla duk foo (crispy fish with green mango salad). “The textures, the flavours, the dish ticks all the boxes. Now, my mission is to perfect it!” he says.
So, is Liam Nealon ever mistaken for the Hollywood actor, Liam Neeson? “Definitely not – because I don’t have the movie star look,” he laughs. But when people meet him, they always remark, “Hey, that’s the movie star’s name.” Liam nods in agreement and replies, “Yes, with the bonus of an extra L!”