If you’ve listened to hip-hop in Thailand, you must have heard of ‘South Side’ and the familiar face of Italian-Thai mix crew member ‘Freddy V’. In this issue, we talk about his life from the days he was a teenager holding a mic in front of thousands to the day he came back to his family-owned restaurant to spend a simple but peaceful life on the island of Phuket. And now, he’s getting ready to shine on TV again; not as a performer this time, but as one of the producers!
Tell us a bit more about yourself
My name is Federico “Freddy” Vassallo. I grew up in Patong before moving to our current house in Kathu. Back in the days in Patong, my family and I made Italian gelato in front of Soi San Sabai. My father brought two gelato machines to Phuket in 1994. We were one of the very first Italian ice cream in Patong.
We sent our home-made ice-cream to several places such as Mom Tri’s hotels, Kata Group hotels, restaurants around Patong, hotels in Laguna, and some others in Kamala as well. I grew up delivering gelato to the kitchen of the most prestigious hotels in Phuket.
Once I graduated from Dulwich (now British International School), I continued my musical journey while studying at the Journalism and Mass Communication Faculty, in Thammasat University. I spent about 10 years with the band going around the country for concerts under Thaitanium Ent until I wanted to settle down and came back to Phuket to be with my mother and marry my wife.
My mother loves cooking and while I was in Bangkok, in 2009, she decided to open an Italian restaurant in Chalong named Da Sandro.
When I came back to Phuket in 2015, we decided to move Da Sandro from Chalong to Kathu, as it is much closer to our house. I had no experience in cooking back then, so I decided to go to Italy to learn the secrets of the trade, as I also hold an Italian passport.
How was the Italian culinary journey?
I learned cooking with Chef Gualtiero Marchesi, who is very well-known for modern Italian cuisine. I started with a two-month course in basic cooking, cutting vegetables and butchering, then I had another two months of working experience.
As I have an Italian passport, I could work in restaurants there, so I applied for several internships in local restaurants. I could experience the kitchen work, from washing dishes, cleaning the kitchen to making bread, pasta, and sauces. As I prefer southern Italian food, I moved from Napoli to Sicily and spend my life like a local. All the restaurants I chose to work with were over a hundred years old, which made me experience the core of real Italian cuisine.
What is the strong point of Da Sandro?
A lot of things we do in our restaurant, such as bread, pasta, ravioli, etc. are homemade and follow our traditional family recipes. The atmosphere is cozy and friendly, and the food isn’t pricey and provides great value for your money. Da Sandro is a restaurant where you can eat any day of the week, not a special place where you can only go once a month.
It’s a family restaurant. My mother and I are always here. We talk to our guests and know what they like; Da Sandro is 10 years old now and our regulars keep coming back.
Back to Hip-Hop with Show Me the Money Thailand Season 2
P’Day, from Thaitanium, was looking for a rapper to be his partner and to be a producer in the show. While I enjoy living in Phuket, when P’Day asked me to join the show, there was no way I’d say no to him as he is one of my mentors. Thaitanium is my family and I owe them a lot.
Show Me the Money Thailand [SMTMTH] will only be about rapping. The battles will allow people to show off their skills.
I also set up an event organizing team called “Roii”, which organizes events in Phuket and across southern Thailand to offer the new generation an opportunity to join our hip-hop family, either as rappers, MC or B-Boy, graffiti artists or DJ. This helps support my mission to promote hip-hop in Phuket and the south of Thailand.