International Chef Day

They’re all over the world: cooking up a storm in the kitchen, inventing new flavors, and whipping up delectable dishes to satisfy the world’s tastes. NexC and HospitalityVillage celebrate the men (and women) behind the world’s greatest cuisines. HAPPY WORLD CHEFS DAY!

The Global Authority on Food

After 79 years the World Association of Chef’s Societies (WACS) continues to bind the network of chefs associations. Founded in October 1928 at the Sorbone in Paris, WACS has since expanded its gastronomic ties to include 72 official chefs associations with eight million cooks and chefs, representing a huge global community of culinarians, today.

CHEF FACTS
  • Celebrity Chef
    Marcel Boulestin became the first television cook when he presented the first of the Cook’s Night Out programs on BBC in January 21, 1937.
  • Tragedy of the Toque
    Once upon a time, King Henry VIII found a hair in his soup. He had his royal cook beheaded, and ordered the next chef to start wearing a hat. The cook was only too happy to comply. All the chefs in the world started wearing hats from then on.

Meet the Chefs
These global culinary authorities are coming out of the kitchens to share with us their journeys to chef-dom, their favorite foods and ingredients, and some words of wisdom straight from the hearth. Have your fill of some of the world’s best chefs. Bon appétit!

AUSTRALIA
GLENN AUSTIN
Director, Pacific Rim - Australian Culinary Federation
www.xtremechef.com.au

ON BECOMING A CHEF: “I suppose when I look back some of my greatest family times were always in the kitchen. My Grandfather was a baker and both my mother and Grandmother where excellent cooks. It sounds so familiar but my mom was my greatest inspiration. Her name was Isobel.”
FAVORITE INGREDIENTS: “My meat of choice is pork I have attached a recipe and photo for your magazine. It is such a wonderful medium to work with, beautiful clean meat, simple to use and tastes fantastic.”
COUNTRIES WORKED IN: “In my earlier years I was land locked in Australia and proud of it. In my later years of cooking I have had the privilege of many short stints in the following countries. Japan, Malaysia, Thailand, Korea, Singapore, Vietnam, Hong Kong, America, Iceland, Ireland, Scotland and to be honest it goes on and on.”
FRESH START: “If I had my time over, I would study harder but still become a chef. It is the best trade in the World. My message to the World of Chefs.” MESSAGE TO CHEFS: “Respect your food, respect your colleges, and cook with passion.”

View Chef Glenn’s Special Recipe!

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HONG KONG
GIANLUIGI BONELLI
Executive Chef, Kee Club
www.keeclub.com

ON BECOMING A CHEF: “[It was] my father’s decision.”
SPECIALTY: I have no specialties or boundaries. I create with my feelings. I don’t believe in recipes.”
FAVORITE INGREDIENTS: “Everything is my favorite, everything interests me, everything makes me ask questions.”
COUNTRIES WORKED IN: Japan, Italy, Hong Kong, Australia, England, Spain, Germany, and USA FRESH START: “[I would still be] me, today. In the next life, [I will probably be] a philosopher.”
MESSAGE TO CHEFS: Pass to the young generation everything that you can; let them learn to commit; teach them to love and respect each other; understand with sacrifice and passion; [and believe that] dreams can become reality.”

Learn more about Chef Gianluigi!

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INDIA
MATTHEW CROPP
Executive Chef, The Oberoi Mumbai
www.oberoimumbai.com

ON BECOMING A CHEF: “As a young boy, I always wanted to become a pilot. But as it turned out, watching my grandmother cook wholesome meals for the large Cropp family had a lasting impression on me than the planes taking off from Sydney International Airport.”
SPECIALTY: “Foie Gras, which can be prepared in many ways. My favorites include a classic Terrine de Foie Gras with hints of spiced stone fruits that harmonizes with the creamy yet delicate flavors of the liver. But there is nothing better than a pan-fried piece of goose liver. The texture of crisp, cream and butter when it reaches your palate is heavenly. This preparation should be rounded off with a piquant sauce based on fruit vinegar, so that the tartness of the sauce and the creamy, flavorsome texture of the liver nicely offset each other.”
COUNTRIES WORKED IN: Australia, Oman, China, Thailand, and India
FRESH START: “I could not imagine a more creative, rewarding and exciting career path to follow.”
WISDOM: “As a whole we shall achieve. Passion will make a great chef; one must cook from the heart. It takes a lot of dedication, discipline and determination to be a great chef.”

View Chef Matthew’s Special Recipe!
Learn more about Chef Matthew!

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SINGAPORE
THOMAS FIGOVC
Executive Chef, Rasa Sentosa Resort, Singapore by Shangri-la
www.shangri-la.com

ON BECOMING A CHEF: “I started cooking early with my mother at home in our big house on the countryside in Austria. Many of our things then were homemade from our garden and the forest. At 12, I was already very interested in the kitchen line so it was only a matter of time before I realized that I was meant to be a chef.”
SPECIALTY: “I like to cook a good piece of fresh fish like the sea bass, or some tandoori items, which I learned about in New Delhi.”
FAVORITE INGREDIENTS: fresh herbs from Asian and French cuisines
COUNTRIES WORKED IN: Germany, Austria, Canada, Philippines, Indonesia, India, and Singapore
FRESH START: “[I would still choose to become] an executive chef. I hope I could do everything like I did in the past. With hard work and clear goals come luck, as well.’
MESSAGE TO CHEFS: “Today, we recognize the chef’s effort to meet the growing and differing demands of guests from diverse cultures. It puts a lot of pressure on us but we can only accept it as part of our daily life.”

View Chef Thomas’ Special Recipe!
Learn more about Chef Thomas

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VIETNAM
JENS HEIER
Executive Chef
i/c of Food and Beverage Department, Omni Saigon Hotel
www.omnisaigonhotel.com

ON BECOMING A CHEF: “I noticed when I was young that I loved to help in the kitchen. When I reached 13, I decided to become a chef and started to work in small restaurants during school holidays.”
SPECIALTY: “My specialties are braised dishes [and dishes which make use of] the freshest seafood.”
FAVORITE INGREDIENTS: “I love all fresh, natural ingredients, especially the varieties you find in Asia.”
COUNTRIES WORKED IN: Germany, Switzerland, France, Italy, Korea, Vietnam, China, and Japan
FRESH START: “I would love to become a chef again—that’s my one and only love.”
WISDOM: “Simplicity is the ultimate challenge.”

View Chef Jens’ Special Recipe!

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POLAND
SEBASTIAN HOLDA
Executive Chef, Polonia Palace Hotel
www.hotelmdm.com.pl

ON BECOMING A CHEF: “I was always first in the kitchen. My mom boasted that I was found covered in flour and eggs when I was three. She encouraged me to become a chef. I finally made up my mind during my teenage years, while working with a chef de cuisine who taught me everything. He was Belgian and a real master!”
FAVORITE INGREDIENTS: “Curry! It can differ so much. It can be added to a mixture of 50 different ingredients and can be used as a spread, liquid, or powder. The variety of tastes of curry can give you new culinary perception. I value salt and pepper, as well. People often neglect their importance.”
COUNTRIES WORKED IN: Germany, Italy, Austria, Egypt, Dubai, UAE, and Poland FRESH START: “[I would choose to become] a chef de cuisine—it’s not just my job, it’s also my passion.”
MESSAGE TO CHEFS: “Travel a lot. When you travel, you experience different tastes and cultures, and you learn how to enrich your dishes and to better understand your guests. De Gustibus Non Disputandum Est. Your responsibility is to please all your customers—that is difficult, but essential. And remember to share your travel experience with others!”

View Chef Sebastian’s Special Recipe!

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USA
BERNARD IBARRA
Executive Chef, Mirage Las Vegas
www.mirage.com

ON BECOMING A CHEF: “You become a cook when you feel the passion for it and you become chef when cultivate that passion, then elevate it to the level where you embrace all aspect of food service.”
SPECIALTY: The dish I consider as my specialty... (hmmm… difficult), I love making Paella, but spicy.
FAVORITE INGREDIENTS: Chillis/Chiles (either as in Sambals, powdered, like Ezpeleta Pepper/Piment d'Espelette or fresh like Habanero, Thai, etc.)
COUNTRIES WORKED IN: Australia, Canada, USA, Indonesia, Singapore, Malaysia, New Zealand, and Vanuatu
FRESH START: If I were to start all over again, I would wish to be a Chef. I SIMPLY LOVE IT.
MESSAGE TO CHEFS:”Respect the ingredients and the cultures, feel the passion, live your life like you are cooking a great dish.”

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MALAYSIA
ANDY SIEW FYE LEONG
Director of Culinary Operations, The Forum Chinese Cuisine

ON BECOMING A CHEF: “I enjoy eating food and like to taste different kinds of cuisine. That moved me to become a chef.”
SPECIALTY: mainly Cantonese cuisine, but now moving towards the modern Chinese cuisine trend
FAVORITE INGREDIENTS: “My favorite ingredients are fresh and dried seafood. People are more health-conscious nowadays. Seafood is better than poultry, and my creation tag is better with it as well.”
COUNTRIES WORKED IN: Sri Lanka, Singapore, China, Indonesia, Thailand, Malaysia, and South Korea.
FRESH START: “I would still want to be a chef because I really enjoy it.”
MESSAGE TO CHEFS: “Chefs enjoying their work and career will bring more fantastic food creations to the world.”

View Chef Andy’s Special Recipe!
Learn more about Chef Andy!

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CHINA
JEREME LEUNG
Executive Chef (Chinese), Three on the Bund
www.threeonthebund.com

ON BECOMING A CHEF: “It began with the influence of my family. My parents’ family owns a couple of restaurants, and I guess [becoming a chef] was the most natural thing to do when I decided that formal schooling isn't my cup of tea. However, I find it more fulfilling working with different companies other than our family-owned businesses.”
SPECIALTY: “I do not have a particular dish that I would consider my “best”. Cooking to me is about constantly evolving, learning everyday and getting inspired by the various things we see and the experiences we undergo. Over the years, I have developed a culinary style that I describe as “New Chinese Cuisine”. My cooking is inspired by traditional recipes from different regions of China, and enriched by my own touches in the presentation.”
FAVORITE INGREDIENTS: “I love working with very fresh seafood.”
COUNTRIES WORKED IN: Hong Kong, Brunei, Singapore, Indonesia, Malaysia, and China
FRESH START: “[I would choose to become] a cook—although this time I may choose to specialize in a different cuisine heritage for the new experience that I have yet to experience till now.”
MESSAGE TO CHEFS: “May all of us continue to create and excel, while respecting our natural environment so that our future will continue to have all the wonderful ingredients that Mother Nature have given us. P.S. Leave endangered species off the stove.”

View Chef Jereme’s Special Recipe!
Learn more about Chef Jereme!

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EGYPT
MARCELO MAHINAY
Sous Chef (Japanese), Cairo Marriott Hotel and Omar Khayyam Casino
www.marriott.com

ON BECOMING A CHEF: “[I decided to become a chef] after training in the finest fine-dining restaurant during the Euro Asian Fusion Cuisine in Honolulu, Hawaii in 1996.”
SPECIALTY: “I like the fusion food cuisine that I learned in Hawaii. But I also love Japanese cuisine. I am good at combining European and Japanese cuisines.”
FAVORITE INGREDIENTS: fresh cream, fresh herbs, soy sauce and fresh tomato sauce
COUNTRIES WORKED IN: Egypt
MESSAGE TO CHEFS: “To all my colleagues, I wish you all the best. Hard work and a creative mind does the trick.”

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VANUATU
TYRONE MANN
Executive Chef, Breakas Beach Resort
www.breakas.com

ON BECOMING A CHEF: “I was a young street kid punk [back then] with not much going on in my life and needed a job to help me survive. I walked into a small chicken boning shop and started washing dishes, and before you know it, I started de-boning chickens. Not long after that, I started working some shifts with the butcher next door to the chicken shop. I did this for over a year and then walked into a small French Restaurant in my local town in Melbourne Australia called Le Calvados. This was the start of my the never-ending life change.”
FAVORITE INGREDIENTS: “It would have to be pork for there are so many products in which, we, as chefs, use on a daily basis.”
COUNTRIES WORKED IN: Australia and Vanuatu
FRESH START: “There is no way I would be any thing else in this world. This is not a job or something to become—it’s a life style of artistic-minded people who live the life they want. As a chef, I get paid to do something I love and respect the life it has given me to be who I am as a person. When a person says to me, ‘Why are chefs so bad all the time?’ I always say, ‘Welcome to the real world of people who proudly provide the public with togetherness at any given time of the day’.”
MESSAGE TO CHEFS: “I have noticed a big change over the years when it comes to fusion food. We call today the trends we set and start to improve the over all dinners experience. Can we keep it real out there? Why do we keep going back to the old school? Well, [we do it] because it works and out of respect to the most simple which can become a master dish of today in modern style. Our customers are a part of our lives and we are apart of their togetherness.”

View Chef Tyrone’s Special Recipe!

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CROATIA
MASSIMILIANO MILLERI

ON BECOMING A CHEF: “W hen I was 13, my family and I spent the summer school vacation camping. [One day], I went to help a friend of mine in the kitchen and I have never stopped since. The mixing of ingredients has always fascinated me. Nothing to be proud of, but during my first trial, I remember I managed to create something which tasted exactly like…ketchup!”
SPECIALTY: “I believe I am good in combining fish and vegetables.”
FAVORITE INGREDIENTS: “My favorite ingredients are anchovies, capers, ginger and extra virgin olive oil. [I like] the first two because they allow me to reduce the amount of salt, at the same time they give a certain sprint-taste to the dish. Ginger add freshness and mystery to the dish, while extra virgin olive oil links all the ingredients.”
FRESH START: “I honestly never thought about [where I would want to be if I could start over]. Perhaps it would be easy to say, in some kind of profession where money is flowing. [I could probably become] a lawyer, doctor, politician, or gangster. But I really like my job and I have never thought of doing something different.”
MESSAGE TO CHEFS: “Never give up!”

View Chef Massimiliano’s Special Recipe!
Learn more about Chef Massimiliano!

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USA
MARKUS NUFER

Executive Chef, Crystal Cruises’ Symphony
www.crystalcruises.com

ON BECOMING A CHEF: “I trained in Switzerland—where you can get the best education and training to become a professional chef.”
FAVORITE INGREDIENTS: Indian and Asian spices
COUNTRIES WORKED IN: Hong Kong, Hawaii, Fiji, Switzerland, Los Angels, and Various Cruising Destinations
FRESH START: “[I would still choose to become] a chef, since I have a great passion for cooking. Also, with our profession you can travel the world and enjoy cooking even in very remote places.”
MESSAGE TO CHEFS: “You have to travel to gain experiences from different countries with different traditions and eating cultures. Enjoy your profession and share your experiences with your colleagues.”

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VANUATU
JACQUES PROUCHANDY
Executive Chef, Le Lagon Resort Vanuatu
lelagonvanuatu.vu

ON BECOMING A CHEF: “You need to be able to put up with the hours that the hospitality industry demands. And most of all, you need lots of energy and passion.”
SPECIALTY: modern cuisine
FAVORITE INGREDIENTS: all fresh produces
COUNTRIES WORKED IN: Australia, Canada, USA, Indonesia, Singapore, Malaysia, New Zealand, and Vanuatu
FRESH START: “If I have to start again, I wouldn’t be anything else but a chef.”
MESSAGE TO CHEFS: Have fun and keep the passion going.

View Chef Jacques’ Special Recipe!

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MALAYSIA
WERNER SCHANZL
Executive Pastry Chef, Shangri-La Hotel Kuala Lumpur
www.shangri-la.com

ON BECOMING A CHEF: “I was 14 years old when I began to make cookies. I finished school and trained in a gingerbread factory and learned to like the job. [Because of that], I am what I am now.”
SPECIALTY: “I like scones. I have been to many places and have been disappointed many times by dry, old and not tasty ones. It’s actually simple to make fresh, good, and tasty scones.”
FAVORITE INGREDIENTS: Whatever their names may be, felchlin-coco, barry-callebout-valhrona etc) they are all good and I can make amazing dishes with them.
COUNTRIES WORKED IN: Austria, Germany, Hong Kong, Singapore, and Cruise Lines, around the world. Also in Qatar-Doha Emirates-and soon in Turkey.
FRESH START: Bill Gates or myself again as a chef.
MESSAGE TO CHEFS: I hope that more people will learn the craft to be a chef and more people will show their skills and show the world that pastry chef work is a passion and a beautiful job to be in.

View Chef Werner’s Special Recipe!
Learn more about Chef Werner!

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PAKISTAN
WILLIAM STRINGFELLOW
Executive Chef, Islamabad Serena Hotel
www.serenahotels.com

ON BECOMING A CHEF: “It was a result of poor education and misfortune.”
FAVORITE INGREDIENTS: cinnamon
COUNTRIES WORKED IN: USA, Thailand, UK, Egypt, KSA, Malaysia, and Pakistan
FRESH START: “[I would want to become] Bill Gates’ partner.”
MESSAGE TO CHEFS: “Don’t let the bastards get you down.”

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KUWAIT
JOSEF UMENBERGER

Executive Chef, Royale Hayat Hospital Kuwait www.royalehayat.com

ON BECOMING A CHEF: “I started at the early age of 15, when I began my apprenticeship as a chef in Austria. I got my inspiration from my mother and from my great grandmother, who was a pastry chef in the 19th century at one of the famous hotels in Vienna.”
SPECIALTY: “The dish featured here (salmon and tuna), which won a prize in a local culinary competition here in Kuwait. I presented a combination of the local Arabic spices and Asian ingredients. I like to combine local flavors with Asian or Latin touches to enhance the flavors and the fusion of the east and the west.”
FAVORITE INGREDIENTS: “My favorite ingredient is coriander, or cilantro which is indigenous. Its distinctive flavor can be used in different variations and can even be used in desserts or ice creams.”
FRESH START: “I definitely will start again in the hospitality industry because, here, your work brings people happiness.”
MESSAGE TO CHEFS: “Take pride in your craft and creativity. Celebrate your talent by interacting with your guests and colleagues.”

View Chef Josef’s Special Recipe!
Learn more about Chef Josef!

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INDONESIA
HEINZ VON HOLZEN
Proprietor, Bumbu Bali Restaurant and Cooking School balifoods.com

ON BECOMING A CHEF: “[I became a chef] by accident. I wanted to venture into a technical field—I started an apprenticeship as an engine draftsman, and was terribly bored sitting behind a drawing board. After three weeks I ran away and followed the footsteps of my best friend who was then training as a chef—a step I never once regretted.”
SPECIALTY: “Sate Lilit. It’s not actually my specialty, but it’s a very traditional Balinese dish that is prepared for most ceremonies. Unfortunately, this dish is far too often, still prepared with turtle meat. Since the opening of our restaurant Bumbu Bali we have been very involved in the protection of these endangered marine reptiles. Strangely enough since we started with our food venture, this dish has been chosen countless times for special events, has been featured in a book cover twice, and has been selected as the best appetizer in gala dinners. (Please note that we prepare this dish not with sea turtle, but with fresh fish).”
FAVORITE INGREDIENTS: “Fresh turmeric. I love the color and the flavor of this spice, though I totally dislike the dry powdered version of it.”
COUNTRIES WORKED IN: Switzerland, Holland, Australia, Singapore, Indonesia, Switzerland, Austria, Australia, Singapore, Malaysia, Bangkok, USA, Dubai, South Africa, and Guam
FRESH START: “[I would still choose] absolutely 100% the same [professional path].”
MESSAGE TO CHEFS: “Commit to quality and freshness of produces. Be proud of what you do. Follow correctly the basics. Be enthusiastic. Become an ambassador of your trade.”

View Chef Heinz’s Special Recipe!
Learn more about Chef Heinz!

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SINGAPORE
EDWARD VOON
Executive Chef, Cannery Leisure Pte. Ltd
www.the-cannery.com

ON BECOMING A CHEF: “Art and dining have always been my passion even when I was young. My inspiration in becoming a chef comes from my desire to unite people.”
SPECIALTY: Caramelized Canadian Lobster “Laksa Fluid”
FAVORITE INGREDIENTS: “Green apple! It’s a versatile fruit. And just like the yin and the yang, it creates the right balance. I feel that the fruit has a very inviting taste.”
COUNTRIES WORKED IN: Singapore
FRESH START: “I have always wanted to be a footballer since I was young and have represented my hometown in several games. I was pretty good at it but eventually, my passion steered towards the culinary world.”
WISDOM: “Color is just an illusion of what we see but its intensity varies depending on the individual.”

View Chef Edward’s Special Recipe!

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