Heat 1 tablespoon butter in a frying pan. Add ham and sauté for 2 minutes. Remove and set aside.
Melt remaining butter in a large saucepan over medium high heat. Add garlic and onion. Cook, stirring, for 3 minutes, or until onion is soft and translucent.
Add flour and stir to make a paste. Cook, stirring, for 1 minute.
Add stock and milk. Stir to combine, then add potatoes and thyme. Cover saucepan with lid. Bring mixture to a simmer, reduce heat to medium and cook for 15 minutes.
Add corn kernels and cook for a further 10 minutes or until corn is heated through and potato is tender. Remove from heat and use a stick blender to purée soup until desired consistency is reached, we like to leave some pieces of corn and potato whole.
Return chowder to a medium heat. Stir through cream and ham. Season to taste. Cook for 1-2 minutes or until heated through.
Divide chowder between serving bowls. Serve sprinkled with fresh chives.