Our Peo­ple Sam Sandhu

Sam Sandhu leads a busy life, but wouldn’t have it any other way

Mansfield Courier - - Front Page -

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.

PHOTO: Sam Rouget

HAPPY MAN: Sam Sandhu might be a busy man, but he ab­so­lutely loves what he does.

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