When it comes to preparing for a special banquet, Chef Stephan has a remarkable eye for curating an experience that goes beyond the typical plate of food. Instead, he envisions how the hotel’s guest will perceive an entire banquet from the moment they walk through The Regency Hotel Kuwait’s prestigious entrance. He applies this creative eye to the hotel’s various dining outlets, where menus are planned carefully to deliver diners with an exciting and memorable experience. We learn all about Chef Stephan’s captivating hospitality journey with The Regency Hotel Kuwait in this special interview.
It is an established notion that cooking is a career that combines hard work and passion. What motivated you to become a chef and when did you decide on this career path?
I believe that cooking has been a childhood dream of mine, as I loved watching my mother in the kitchen. I knew back then that I wanted to not only cook, but to also have a career in this field.
From Germany to Kuwait, tell us about your journey.
Before coming to the region, my career began in Germany’s beautiful Black Forest region. From there, I worked in several European countries at boutique luxury establishments and aboard luxury yachts that introduced me to working in the region before coming to Kuwait. I’ve been living in Kuwait for the last year and a half.
Is there a difference between working in Europe and in Kuwait?
The creative culinary standard in Europe is considered as a point of reference. When I came to the Middle East, I’ve learned that showcasing and keeping this as inspiration is important, while at the same time understanding that customers in the region expect more. The guests have quite a high standard for luxury and I believe that striking a balance between creativity, maintaining a high standard while adapting certain flavors to the local culture, is key.
We know that The Regency Hotel is famous for its variety of cuisines, how do you handle preparing for these different concepts?
Our team of chefs hails from all over the world to guarantee authenticity with every dish presented. From Indian, Far Eastern, Middle Eastern to European cuisines, each chef has a specialty and all of the dishes we create are held to the highest of standards.
As an Executive Chef, what is your secret ‘ingredient’ to lead your team?
You have to behave like a passionate leader, nourish the team with a positive environment, and set a good example. In this way, talent is nurtured, while good ideas are shaped into realities. It’s really important to empower the team, while still leading them toward realizing the hotel’s ethos. At The Regency Hotel Kuwait, our style is quite classical, but we are still successfully able to present classical ideas in a modern light utilizing our team’s creativity and talents.
Do you prefer to dine at a specific outlet at The Regency Hotel? If so, which one is your favorite?
I’m a frequent diner at the hotel’s international Silk Road restaurant and I am a huge fan of the Seafood Night—because there is a large variety of seafood cooked in different styles to choose from.
Are there any special culinary activities coming up at the hotel’s dining outlets?
This September, our Barbecue Nights will be making a come back which is always fun for us! A beautiful Arabic tent will be set up by the beach side with its own special set menu with live cooking stations around the pool and beach area. The hotel’s luxurious main lobby, Al Liwan, will also showcase very soon an innovative, cosmopolitan menu with a modern European touch. That’s the beauty of working with an international team of expert chefs, as you have the talent and expertise to present authentic cuisine to our local clientele. Eid also will bring with it our special Eid Brunch menu for the duration of the entire holiday. To make the experience more memorable, we decided that each day of this special holiday will celebrate a certain type of cuisine in a fun interactive fashion from 1:00 p.m. to 4:00 p.m. Of course, our Friday Royal brunches are still going on!
Lastly, what are three ingredients that you cannot live without in the kitchen?
Teamwork, passion and motivation.