Chef Stefan Beutler’s career in the hospitality industry spans nearly 30 years. Commencing his culinary journey in 1989, he has steadily risen through the kitchen ranks to successfully become an Executive Chef. Stefan has extensive experience in numerous locations across the globe including Asia, the Middle East and Europe. Over the years, he has been involved in the opening and operation of a number of well-known luxury hotels. His most recent assignment was as the Executive Chef in the iconic Desert Palm Hotel, Dubai, before taking up his current role in Sri Lanka, where he delights diners at the Anantara Kalutara.
What makes your food unique?
My multicultural experience from working in many different countries gives me an insight on how different cuisines in different cultures should be prepared. I apply my international culinary knowledge into my dishes, creating fusion food and much more. Also, having 30 years of experience in the kitchen gives me an advantage in this industry. I know my way around the kitchen, and have been experimenting with different elements of food to improve my cuisine.
What was the first meal you ever cooked?
I remember my first time cooking. It was making Christmas cookies on a cold winter night with my mother.
What is your take on fusion food?
Fusion food is a combination of different elements, and it is everywhere. People mix Western food and Asian food everywhere, whether it’s in restaurants or on the streets. There is nothing wrong with it. Indeed, it is a celebration of many different cultures and different societies in a single dish.
What are the challenges of being a chef today?
I guess one of the challenges chefs face today would be to be able to adapt to all different kinds of personalized food requests, especially if it comes to health factors, such as food allergies, or choices based on personal beliefs. Also, trendy food movements and ethnic relations vary in different places. These trends are contemporary; they never stay, they always come and go. So I believe that adaptability is key in this industry. Another problem that I see is dealing with product availability in the kitchen. Sometimes it limits our creativity, but we as chefs have to work around it and work with what we have.
Can cost control become problematic in cooking? Does it stop the creativity of chefs or compromise the quality of the food?
Cost control is always a big part of cooking and will always be a big part in the industry. Not only do we create dishes, but we also have to look into the finances. Cost control does interfere with our creativity. It can limit our experimentation with multicultural food elements to an extent. We can’t always create any kind of cuisine that is out there, as we have to look at what is available in the market and the prices. But like I mentioned earlier, we always work around it, and actually, this gives room for more creativity to find alternative options and other solutions to the cost control issues.