The Big Climb: Four Seasons Hotel Bahrain Bay's Hyung Gyu Kim
What attracted you to the position of executive chef with Four Seasons Hotel Bahrain Bay?
I began my Middle Eastern journey four years ago. It was during that time that I discovered how fascinated I was with the culture. Originally from Korea, I have always wanted to explore the world and learn new dishes and cooking techniques. When I knew I had the opportunity to come and work for Four Seasons Hotel Bahrain Bay, I did not hesitate. I had heard how warm and welcoming the people of Bahrain are, so it felt totally natural that I continued my food journey here, in the Kingdom.
How have your past experiences lent themselves to your expertise in this role?
I have more than 10 years of experience working in some of the finest restaurants in the world. Most recently, I was executive chef at a hotel in this region. I actually learned the ropes at the prestigious Le Cordon Bleu London. I then proceeded to work in the kitchens of the Corinthia Hotel and Jumeirah Hotel London. At Four Seasons Hotel Bahrain Bay, my new home, I will be in charge of the entire culinary operation, leading a team of nearly 60 employees, representing 15 nationalities.
I am also excited to oversee a new lounge project set to be unveiled this summer right in time for the Four Seasons beach opening.
What are you most looking forward to as part of this new role?
I want to use fresh, local ingredients as much as possible, so our culinary offerings are always seasonal. I am a true believer that chefs should have good relationships with their suppliers and farmers. I need to know the product from farm-to-fork. The best tasting dishes are the ones made from ingredients that have been nurtured with tender loving care. I am actually in the middle of cultivating a small herb and spice garden in the hotel grounds.
How do you intend to make the hotel’s food & beverage outlets popular as well as profitable?
The Four Seasons Bahrain Bay family comprises so many talented culinary craftsmen. We will always bring innovative ideas to the table, while keeping the traditional favourites that our guests love, on the menus.
What is your favourite thing about the hotel?
Being a part of the team and exceeding guests’ expectations is very important to me. Achieving goals as a team is a wonderful feeling. I love teaching my team new techniques and inspiring them. I also learn a lot from them. We all teach each other authentic dishes from our heritages.
What changes are you planning with the venues over the next year?
I personally believe that the new Four Seasons beach project will add another dimension to the hotel’s unique offerings. I would like to elevate the sushi culture at Bahrain Bay Kitchen and develop the very best afternoon tea service at Bay View Lounge. I am getting to know the guests and building relationships with them through food and conversation.