A French native, Chef Thierry Danzas has a strong food and beverage and culinary background, with over thirty years of extensive experience with leading hotels, including Briendenbacher Hof Dusseldorf, Hilton Park Lane, London and several starred chef locations around France.
His passion for food has taken him everywhere, including Bahrain, China, Bali and Thailand. His experience in Thailand gave him the opportunity to lead culinary teams in prime properties such as Le Meridien Phuket and Heritage Club Bangkok. He has worked with GCP hospitality at the Scarlett Wine Bar & Restaurant in Beijing**, theStrand Hotel, Cruise Yangon, The Macau Roosevelt **Hotel and Pullman Pattaya Hotel G.
“As we are a family hotel, my goal is to pleasantly surprise our clients in a non-adventurous way” said Chef Thierry
What are the three most important ingredients you always have in your home kitchen?
First,Pepper, of any color or origin. These spices never disappoint me. Whether they come from Kampot, Madagascar, India, Brazil or Sichuan, they are all different and bring refinement to all common products.
Second,Olive oil, so easy to perfume and to work with. It is also a healthy option at a time when demand for balanced meals is becoming more and more popular.
And third is rice, for the same reason as the pepper. It’s a perfect ingredient that works with all styles of cooking, from breakfast to dinner, from soup to dessert.
Cooking is about understanding, respecting and getting the best of ingredients. When I hire a new cook with a position of chef de partie or higher positions, during the food testing I request two own signature dishes and one risotto.
To cook a risotto you need to respect the process, the time, and to have a strong understanding about the test balance and seasonings. It’s the perfect test, any short cut or lack of knowledge and rigour will quickly become quite obvious.
What was the first meal you ever cooked by yourself? How was it?
I do not remember the first one as my mother was a chef and I spent a lot of time with her cooking. But I remember that when I was fourteen years old, I decided to become a cook as my parents did before. I joined a hotel school during my school holidays and worked in a local restaurant, facing the difficulties of this profession. To utilize my experience, I showed my determination by cooking a meal for my family.
What CSR initiatives are you involved in?
I joined the Pattaya chefs get together and prepared a gourmet four course gala charity dinner for guests at the Hilton Hotel Ballroom in 2012.
How do you incorporate local ingredients into your cooking style?
Local ingredients are everywhere in every dish, and we import only ingredients that Thailand does not produce. Being a chef also makes you curious as you become a gourmand of other food and culture.
I discovered that Thailand and Asia have a variety of flavours that are new to me, and I was always eager to try those ingredients together with my style of cooking. It was not always a success but sometimes it worked and gave me great satisfaction.
A chef missing a recipe with new ingredients is simply part of the learning process, not a sign of not caring for the ingredients or the recipe.
What is your advice to someone who aspires to become a 5-star hotel chef?
Travel and be curious. There are many lessons to learn everywhere from all natures of food.
Today, young chefs are very sharp on technique and very adventurous with the test and mix. That’s very good, though in the end only the guest can decide if what you propose suits them or not.