Our People Sam Sandhu
Sam Sandhu leads a busy life, but wouldn’t have it any other way
SAM Sandhu once spent two years learning to cook Italian food.
Carbonara, fettucini, rigatoni; cut and cooked to perfection by a 22-year-old Indian man.
Sam no longer cooks Italian - Thai is his culinary forte - but that same young Indian still exists; a boy who has always been able to look past the problem to an obvious solution.
Want an opportunity to grow and meet new people? Move.
Need a job in a city but don’t know where to start? Wash dishes.
Want to work in an Italian restaurant, but don’t know how to cook? Learn.
Sam now owns and operates Mansfield Thai - a restaurant in the heart of town - where he cooks Thai food with an Indian infusion; creating a unique dining experience.
“Whatever I do, I put my heart and soul into,” Sam said.
“I always try my best.” However, he hasn’t always been in the hospitality industry.
Since moving to Australia, Sam has done whatever it takes to keep a roof over his head and food on the table.
What’s more, he has always taken pride in doing it well.
From driving taxis to working in a furniture shop, Sam knows the meaning of a hard day’s work.
“I adapt to new and unusual situations very quickly,” Sam said.
“I am very flexible to change.” While this can be seen through his work life, Sam has also proven to be extremely adaptable within his private life.
He can vividly remember his mum telling him it was time to settle down – which meant finding him a wife.
Often, the process of arranging a marriage in India includes families getting together and looking back into people’s ancestry and their history.
In Australia, the concept of an arranged marriage is hard to grasp.
But for Sam, not being in love on the day of his wedding was par for the course.
“In India, it’s love after marriage not before,” Sam said.
“I got to know her very quickly.” Despite marrying a virtual stranger, most couples end up happily in love; growing together as the years pass.
Sam and his wife, Aman, are no different, and two decades into their marriage Sam still gushes when he speaks of her.
“It’s all the things she does – she’s so nurturing and caring,” he said.
Two years after the wedding, Preet was born, Prabh and Paraneet followed.
Despite his own marriage’s success, Sam doesn’t plan on an arrangement for any of his children it’s not the culture they’ve grown up with.
“I want them to live their own life – I will leave it all up to them,” he said.
“They might be Indian by heritage, but they are Australian born.”
For the last five years, Sam has been happily raising his family here in town.
There were some troubles initially setting up Mansfield Thai – problems with a franchise and with chefs – but like everything else, Sam has found a solution.
Outside of the shop, and Sam has also made his mark on the Mansfield Golf Course.
“I had so much time during the day – no one starts their day off with rice for breakfast here,” he joked.
Sam hadn’t ever played golf before coming to Mansfield, and remembers being told to ‘just have a hit’ – and so he did, proving to be a natural with the golf clubs and on the greens.
In his first year, Sam and his son were runners-up in the Father and Son Golf Competition – only two shots behind the winners.
“I found my Buddha – golf is my Buddha,” Sam said.
While Sam is of Indian heritage, he feels as Aussie as any other.
In fact, more than being an Australian citizen, Sam is also a Mansfieldian.
It doesn’t get much better than that.
HAPPY MAN: Sam Sandhu might be a busy man, but he absolutely loves what he does.