As Executive Chef at the Four Seasons Hotel Kuwait at Burj Alshaya, Sebastiano Spriveri has a wealth of knowledge and talent when it comes to creating the incredible dishes at the hotel.
He firmly believes that “Every bit of improvisation and creativity needs a solid foundation in traditional techniques.”
While Kuwait wasn’t initially in the plans for the Sicilian-born Executive Chef, he believes that “one must be ready for new opportunities.” Excited about coming to Kuwait, Sebastiano started a new chapter in his career with the opening of the Four Seasons Hotel Kuwait at Burj Alshaya, building his team from scratch and developing his leadership skills further.
First joining Four Seasons Milan back in 1995, Sebastiano was already ten years into his culinary career. He spent five years at the Hotel, trained with the talented then-Executive Chef Sergio Mei and assisted him during his “Creative Cuisine” lessons at the Istituto Superiore di Arti Culinarie Etoile at Sottomarina di Chioggia, Italy. Leaving this post in 2000, Sebastiano went on to become the Executive Sous Chef at the Four Seasons Hotel Cairo at The First Residence before moving to the company’s former property in London’s Canary Wharf as Executive Chef. He returned to Milan in 2006 as Mei’s right-hand man. While this might come across as quite the unusual move, stepping back to an Executive Sous Chef position, he saw the opportunity in aligning himself with his mentor and friend. This move proved to be the smart one, as they worked together to raise the Hotel’s culinary offerings to a whole new level. “We only needed to look each other in the eyes to understand one another,” he explains. “It is rare to find such a partnership in the kitchen.”
He is a great supporter of traditional cooking, and returning to classic techniques to honor the flavors that first put Italian cuisine on the global culinary map. We personally experience this at the Four Seasons Hotel Kuwait at Burj Alshaya’s immaculate Italian restaurant Dai Forni. Sebastiano will always impress you with his humble personality, and he is also a huge advocate for continuously learning something new in the kitchen.
After his tenure in Milan, he joined Four Seasons in Istanbul on the stunning shores of the Bosphorus in 2013 as Executive Chef before moving to Kuwait to open the company’s first Hotel there. “Respect of the product and of the produce; this is my principal, my priority,” Sebastiano continues. “I’m hungry for learning and knowledge, and find inspiration every day walking the city. I want to bring all my experience to inspire myself in creating new ideas. I like to change things, and what is important for me is to apply my personality and creative way of doing things.”
Tell us a bit more about your favorite…
Breakfast: A cup of tea, cookies, rice gallette, and jam.
Knives: Global brand, always sharp.
Most overused spice: I use them with caution.
Foodie Destination: The far East.
Kitchen Gadget: A Smart kitchen scale.
Food Aroma: Vanilla pods.
Why did you first get into cooking?
My inspiration comes came from my mom, as she is a great cook! I still remember our Sunday night suppers when I was kid, waking up in the morning and smelling the mouth-watering meal that she used to start preparing from earlier on in the day.
What experience most defined your decision and desire to get into the hotel industry?
I got into the industry mostly because I love it, as it brings you a more global experience rather than being a restaurant chef in one country.
What do you love the most about your current job?
The pressure, and the adrenaline rush that comes with it. I can’t live without it.
Describe your favorite dish.
I don’t really have a favorite dish. I love good food that is simple yet flavorful.
Name three ingredients you can’t live without in the kitchen.
Any vegetables, rice, and fish.
What is the most important part of a sandwich?
Both the bread and filling.
What’s your favorite sauce of all time?
It has to be Bolognese ragout.
How does your personality differ inside and outside the kitchen?
It’s very different. When I am inside the kitchen my attitude is straight forward with no negotiation, as you have to always showcase professionalism and strictness. But I am surely a different person when I am outside the kitchen. But, I’m still a humble person in both cases.
If you weren’t a chef, what would you like to be?
No idea. My job is my first love!
If you could choose, what would your “last supper” be?
Anything, as long as it’s with my mom.
Who in the world would you most like to cook for?
Everyone and anyone who has come to eat what I cooked.
What do you think will be the biggest food trend of 2019?
To stay with your feet firmly planted on the ground and go back to basics, trendy food can be very exasperating.
Featured image courtesy of Four Seasons Hotel Kuwait at Burj Alshaya.