Now, more than ever, chefs are concentrating more on the purity of food, evaluating all of the products and ingredients they are working with
This months' Chef of the Month, Andrea Accordi, is the Executive Chef of the hottest new luxury hotel in Bangkok - The Four Seasons Hotel Bangkok.
Originally from Nogara, Italy, and having worked for Four Seasons since 2007, Andrea achieved his first Michelin star in Florence at age 25 and then landed as Executive Chef of Four Seasons Hotel Prague. In 2012 he was tapped to open Four Seasons' first property in Russia at Lion Palace in St. Petersburg, and now he is back for his second tour of duty in Thailand.
How has the dining scene changed over the past ten years? And how have you evolved?
Wow, that's a big question. When I really look at it, I think the biggest change is how chefs are thinking. Now, more than ever, chefs are concentrating more on the purity of food, evaluating all of the products and ingredients they are working with -- and really focusing on simplicity.
Over the last ten years, I have had the opportunity to live in several locations. This has given me the chance to grow and learn to adapt my cooking to the local palate, while still retaining originality and authenticity in all preparations. I am always focusing on the best ingredients, and making sure the food truly shines.
Competition in F&B outlets is fierce, how do you stay competitive?
Competition is the beauty of the F&B market. It keeps things exciting and makes sure you are on top of your game and always innovating. I am constantly pushing my team and myself to be on top of the market. I never stop innovating and looking for new ways to excite the market. Really, I consider that my adrenalin, and my opportunity to build and grow the industry and myself.
What's the biggest challenge for the industry today?
Everything that is happening around the world with the pandemic is truly the biggest challenge right now. We have not in our lifetime been tested this way. People are trying to survive with the businesses they have and even reinventing those businesses to support themselves. However, I feel that when this is all over, there will be a very very high demand for F&B, having fun, and being together with friends and family.
Asia is one of the continents with the highest food surplus, how do you manage your food wastage?
Food wastage is part of our ongoing training on a daily basis. It's important that my full team understands that food wastage cannot be taken lightly and impacts both the business and the local community. By being smart, we can reduce food wastage resulting in less waste, less spend, and allows us to innovate in unique ways.
In Italy we say that from one ingredient, you can eat everything, wastage is the last thing you will hear about in our families. So that's where we can become creative, how do you use an entire ingredient with zero wastage. Through many cooking techniques you can transform an ingredient in many ways to use in different dishes? I'll give you a simple example. At home if you eat a watermelon, instead of throwing away the skin, you can pickle it or caramelize the skin, both of which are great on a charcuterie plate and with cheeses. Then the seeds you can use to grow sprouts for salads. It's all about -- how can I make this ingredient fully work for me.
What's your advice for young chefs who want to be successful in their career?
I think it's important to always remember to stick to your roots, remember where you come from, and always maintain the purity of the great products you are working with. As you grow as a chef, you first become a skilled chef within your cuisine, working with great chefs who open you up and help you to become more creative -- but I would encourage them to still remember their roots. I would also encourage young chefs to take opportunities to travel and take experiences around the world -- that's very important, and it's extremely fascinating to see what's happening around the world.
Visit Andrea Accordi at The Four Seasons Hotel Bangkok.