Disciples Escoffier International - Asia Delegation
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Richard Ekkebus: A Decade of Growing Amber that Never Stops Evolving
Chef Richard Ekkebus, Director of Culinary Operations and Food & Beverage of Amber, the Landmark Mandarin Oriental in Hong Kong has been the chief culinary architect behind the kitchen and the F&B teams for a decade as the prestigious hotel celebrates its 10th anniversary in 2015. Having earned two Michelin stars for this restaurant, Chef Ekkebus interprets Amber as "a work in progress" where refinements in the intertwining elements taking part in one's dining experience germinate towards maturity. He sees it as a cycle that never subsides. He shares with us, in this interview, a chef's monologue as well as the dialogue between a chef and his team. Growing up in a family of restaurateurs, it never occurred to him that he would later embark on a life journey of being a chef. Yet, with the prior knowledge accumulated in the kitchen since his young age he was quickly preoccupied with running a station in a restaurant during the weekends or even weekdays during his university days. "From there I started to picture myself in the years ahead and created a path for myself to work with the best chefs in Holland. Later on I went to work with the best chefs in France. I left my country to pursue culinary excellence very early in my life." Bearing witness to the never waning passion which he commented upon as an overrated word would rather be the desire to become a good chef, to be constantly challenged, to push and to be pushed forward.
"A restaurant is not a one-man show. It is not the vision of one single person. It is the creation of many people's involvement that helps us move forward and question certain things that we were and are doing, push us to make them better, more efficient towards a higher quality. Everyday we set the bar a little higher." Chef Ekkebus came to Hong Kong 10 years ago to create Amber as part of the purview of the Landmark Mandarin Oriental giving it a little personality of its own while adhering to the service cultures and objectives of the Mandarin Oriental Group. It did not come any close to an easy task.
"A lot of people compared us at the very beginning for they expected everything here to be the same as the Mandarin Oriental, which nonetheless, was not our aim doing exactly the same in the same building. But I think we have found our niche. We insisted and persisted. Eventually we are becoming extremely successful in what we do. We are now our own reference point and it was the objective that we have been able to achieve."He sums up a decade of brand building thanks to a strong international team that has taken up a critical stance towards himself that he truly appreciates.
Amber, with its close geographical proximity to the Asian regions, has the uniqueness of working with a lot of Asian ingredients, in particular, Japanese ingredients in producing Frenchc uisine. Over the years the initiation of the fusion concept founded upon the respect for French taste and French techniques has won Amber the recognition as one of the best French restaurants in this gastronomically exigent city. "It has already been 10 years now and that is my gray hair." He uttered in laughters.
To the young chefs inspired to pursue a culinary career, he said, "Your apprentice is never finished. Techniques will evolve, customer expectationsb will evolve and you will need to evolve with them. You will always challenge yourself and your knowledge." Finding a master and staying to learn within his structure during the course of at least three years will help the junior chefs to consolidate and strengthen the knowledge basis. He has done this and invites the chefs of the future to treasure these mentorship opportunities with the masters that share and transfer their knowledge from chef to chef - from man to man.
UNE OCCASION UNIQUE DE SAVOURER ET FAIRE SAVOURER
Rejoignez le projet Goût de France / Good France !
Le 19 mars 2015, plus de 1000 chefs sur 5 continents seront réunis autour d'un repas à la française.
Le temps d'un dîner, chefs et gourmands célèbreront l'excellence, la diversité et la modernité de la gastronomie française. Soutenu par le Ministère des Affaires étrangères et du Développement international et par Alain Ducasse, le projet constitue une occasion unique de savourer et faire savourer la France au travers d'un événement festif d'envergure internationale. Ce dîner se concrétisera par la réalisation d'un menu valorisant la gastronomie française, avec la liberté pour chaque chef d'accorder sa proposition à son marché et à ses produits de qualité..... plus d'infos???
A UNIQUE OPPORTUNITY TO ENJOY AND SHARE THE TASTE
Join the Goût de France / Good France project!
On 19 March 2015, a thousand chefs on five continents will at once be preparing a French meal.
In one dinner, chefs and diners will celebrate the excellence, diversity and modernity of France's gastronomy. This project is supported by the French Ministry of Foreign Affairs and International Development and by chef Alain Ducasse. It is a unique opportunity to enjoy and share the taste of France through a festive event on an international scale. The dinner will involve the creation of a menu to showcase French gastronomy, with chefs being free to adapt their offers to their own markets and quality products. More???