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Four Seasons Hotel Bangkok Announces the 14th World Gourmet Festival to be held September 2-8, 2013

July 16, 2013 Destination Thailand No Comments Email Email

Excitement is building around this year’s 14th World Gourmet Festival, to be held at Four Seasons Hotel Bangkok from September 2 to 8, 2013. Already confirmed are leading chefs and influential winemakers, and as the Festival approaches the list is set to grow.

Since its inception, the World Gourmet Festival has grown in prominence to feature an extraordinary line-up of some of the best chefs, winemakers and food experts from across the globe, all gathered together under one roof for a week-long celebration of outstanding cuisine and superb wines.

Food_7Currently confirmed to participate in the 14th Annual World Gourmet Festival are:

Guests can also look forward to unique wine pairings at the dinners of Chef Jérôme Bonnet and Chef David Rathgeber. Chef Bonnet’s cuisine will be paired with wines by Pascal Jolivet, and Chef Rathgeber’s dinner will be paired with wines selected by Ned Goodwin.

In addition to the highlighted chef dinners, once again this year the lobby will play host to cooking demonstrations by the participating chefs in the Gaggenau show kitchen, as well as the much-loved World Gourmet Festival lunch and Sunday Brunch with cuisine from around the world.

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PROFILES:

Chef Markus Arnold, Restaurant “Meridiano”, Bern, Switzerland
From the finest fish and most select meats to succulent side dishes and market-fresh vegetables (whenever possible from the Bern region) the choice is vast and varied.  Says Markus Arnold: “We strive for seduction of the senses by creating sophisticated simplicity.”When it comes to great gastronomy, award-winning Chef de Cuisine Markus Arnold is in a class of his own.  At the age of only 31, he is already one of Switzerland’s most eminent chefs. He places greatest importance on creating the most authentic aromas – by selecting only the purest products and top quality ingredients, prepared to perfection with passion.  It’s a fine food philosophy which has already earned him 17 Gault-Millau points and a well-merited Michelin Star. In 2012 the prestigious Gault-Millau gourmet guide named him “Achiever of the Year” in German-language Switzerland.

Jérôme Bonnet, Restaurant Daniel, Paris, France

Jérôme Bonnet’s cuisine focuses on the very best products available, and every day he sets out to discover new farmers from whom he can source the finest new ingredients. Working with local experts, he is able to create a simple yet sophisticated cuisine that focuses on traditional recipes, but with a twist that make them very much his own.

Born and raised in Languedoc, Roussillon, Bonnet has been influenced by highly respected chefs such as Paul Bocuse, the Pourcel Brothers and Bernard Loiseau. The cuisine he creates at Restaurant Daniel, a member of Relais & Châteaux, is true to the origins of its ingredients, respecting the original flavours of the products and the seasons. Bonnet’s cuisine at the 14th World Gourmet Festival will be paired with wines from Pascal Jolivet.

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Roger van Damme, Het Gebaar, Antwerp, Belgium

Ever since he was a child, Roger van Damme has been fascinated by baking, and knew from an early age that he wanted to be a patissier himself. His great grandfather was a baker, and the young Roger often went to help him in his village bakery. After finishing cooking school in Bruges, he accomplished his dream and started to work for Huize van Wely, one of the most famous dessert makers in Holland.  A few years later, van Damme moved with his wife Cindy to Antwerp, where he opened the first version of Het Gebaar: a tea room. Later on, they moved their business to the beautiful historical botanical gardens of Antwerp, and opened today’s Het Gebaar, where together with their team they create desserts that surprise and delight with exquisite flavours and scents.

Roger van Damme is one of the most experienced and innovative Belgian patissiers in the world. One year later, Roger van Damme was recognized as Chef of the Year by GaultMillau. He is also known as being the “godfather of molecular pastry”.

Since 2010, Roger has been starring in his own TV shows at Njam TV.  In 2011, Het Gebaar was rewarded with its first Michelin star. More TV shows followed the first, and Roger launched Njam! magazine together with Peter Goossens, Sanoma Magazines and Njam!. His books ‘Desserts’ and ‘Bakken’ reached the top of the bestseller list after just one week.

“My greatest success is in my everyday life. Just simple things like bringing my team together, teaching them, and bringing people together to have a great experience dessert-wise. Because they are all challenges, I try to make every day a better one than the day before,” says van Damme

Hirohisa Koyama, Aoyagi, Tokyo, Japan

Recognised in Japan as being one of the greatest chefs of his time, Hirohisa Koyama manages Aoyagi restaurants in Tokushima and Tokyo, and also teaches cookery at the prestigious Heisei Culinary School, which he opened in the mid-1990s. He is a regular in the Japanese media, and has also penned a book about his cuisine, Aji no Kaze, translated as “Windborne Flavours”.

Koyama’s philosophy is simple – to combine the traditional and the modern to create a cuisine that his guests will love. Koyama has been cooking since he was a child, later training in Osaka before taking the helm of the restaurant owned by his parents and grandparents, Aoyagi, in Tokushima on the Japanese island of Shikoku. The waters off Shikoku provide some of the world’s finest fish and seafood, which form the basis for many of Koyama’s signature dishes. His cuisine uses traditional techniques to deliver “Modern Classic” dishes that please both the palate and the eye, featuring only the finest ingredients in season, and always ensuring that the original flavours shine through.

Miguel Laffan, L’AND, Alentejo, Portugal

Miguel Laffan is part of the generation of chefs creating a new wave in Portuguese gastronomy. Chef Laffan’s Mediterranean cuisine is also inspired by  Luso-Asian and Middle Eastern dishes,  resulting in a cuisine that is rich yet full of fresh flavours,  reminiscent of the culinary experiences from distant lands.

Chef Laffan has a very proactive culinary approach.  He believes that perfection is achieved through detailed research and sheer determination.  For him, the freshness of the food is as important as the freshness of the mind, and he aims to deliver this philosophy through his cuisine. This philosophy is also the secret to his success.

Chef Laffan’s journey so far has taken him through some of Europe’s greatest kitchens, including the Michelin three-star Fortaleza do Guincho in Cascais, Portugal, Le Jardin des Ramparts in Beaune, France, and Le Clous de la Violette in Aix-en-Provence, France.

He has also led teams in landmark hotels including Hotel Casa Velha do Palheiro in Funchal, Portugal, Hotel Quinta da Casa Branca in Madeira, and he currently leads the team at L’AND in Montemor-o-Novo in Alentejo, Southern Portugal. 

Vito Mollica, Il Palagio, Four Seasons Hotel Firenze, Florence, Italy

Vito Mollica is a staunch advocate of Italian food. Inspired as a young boy by the local specialities prepared by his mother, he has spent his career seeking to preserve the culinary ecology of his home nation by supporting small producers, old-style markets and local varieties.

He bases his kitchen philosophy on “knowing the man behind the produce,” personally scouring the markets and Tuscan countryside for independent producers who share his passion for quality. “The main value of any dish is the quality of the ingredients,” he explains. “If they have been produced with care, it comes through in the taste. Then the more simply you cook the ingredients, the more you will allow the flavour to come through.”

Mollica’s entire attitude to cooking stems from the heart. From the relationships he forges with his producers to the attitude he has towards his team (“the main ingredient of all”), his approach culminates in his desire to ensure each guest feels at home in his restaurant: “Food is an experience – the care has to extend beyond what is found on the plate to how you welcome each guest, how you treat them, how you say goodbye.” Despite his more than 20 years of senior kitchen experience, Mollica regularly travels to train at some of the world’s finest Michelin-star restaurants, constantly broadening his knowledge and seeking inspiration from new people and places.

Mollica found it hard leaving Four Seasons Hotel Prague to join the pre-opening team in Florence in 2007 – his and his wife Angela’s two sons were born in Prague, and it was the family’s first home together. But Florence is an easy place to fall in love with. “It’s a haven for quality – the art, the history, the cuisine,” says Mollica. “It’s a great location for the children, too; the city is relaxed and cosmopolitan, and we can easily travel to the sea and the mountains.”

Paco Perez, The Mirror Restaurant, Barcelona, Spain

Chef Paco Pérez’s culinary passion awoke at a very tender age. At only 12 years old he began working at his family-owned tapas bar, learning traditional cuisine. From that moment on, he balanced his traditional studies with his vocation, working during the summer holidays in different restaurants until he was able to become fully immersed in the world of gastronomy.

During his apprenticeship and training he undertook three “stages” in France with the renowned Michel Guèrard, considered to be one of the fathers of Nouvelle Cuisine and a holder of 3 Michelin Stars. On returning to Catalonia he identified very much with the creativity expressed by Ferrán Adrià at the Bulli, with whom he did several “stages”.

Upon marrying Montse Serra, they set about creating the Miramar gastronomic restaurant together in the town of Llancà. They transformed the traditional restaurant it was then to the avant-garde gastronomic experience it is today, recognized by the Michelin Guide with a 2 star rating.

Since December 2010 he has headed up the management of The Mirror Restaurant.

David Rathgeber, Restaurant L’Assiette, Paris, France

Although still only 35 years old, Chef David Rathgeber has already had a rich and exciting career, having completed stints at prestigious restaurants such as the Michelin two-star Amphycles in Paris, the Michelin two-star Ritz in Paris, the Michelin two-star Les Trois Marches in Versailles, and 12 years in the kitchens of  legendary chef Alain Ducasse, including Michelin three-star Plaza Athénée, Aux Lyonnais, and Benoit in Paris, where he earned his first Michelin star, as well as at Benoit in New York and Tokyo.

It was also thanks to Alain Ducasse that he first met “Lulu”, previous chef and owner of L’Assiette, who was thinking about embarking on a well-deserved retirement. David fell in love with this 50-cover restaurant, and made the decision to take the helm in September 2008, along with his sous chef Emmanuel who had been assisting him for the past six years.

At L’Assiette, Chef Rathgeber aims to continue what he commenced when working with Alain Ducasse. Originally from Auvergne, he loves to play with new interpretations of classic recipes, taking care that they don’t lose their original essence, and creating new “Rathgeber versions” of dishes such as pot au feu, pieds paquet,  and chou farci.

Dining at L’Assiette is a fun experience, and Chef Rathgeber says that he prefers to cook from the heart for the customers, rather than having them choose for themselves. He loves being in contact with his guests, and is always happy to take the floor to greet them and share in the experience with them.

Also confirmed to participate in World Gourmet Festival events are Master of Wine Ned Goodwin who will be conducting a wine masterclass. Wine maker, Pascal Jolivet, will be hosting a wine tasting session.

PROFILES:

Ned Goodwin, Master of Wine, Japan

Born in London, raised in Australia and educated in Tokyo and Paris, Ned Goodwin MW is one of four Masters of Wine in Asia. Ned has chosen a path in wine that has encompassed work as a sommelier, educator, show judge and consultant. Ned has vast experience as a corporate buyer, public speaker and event coordinator. He is well represented across the media – both print and television – with a strong presence throughout Asia, in particular.

Before moving to Japan, Ned was one of three sommeliers at Veritas restaurant in Manhattan’s Gramercy neighbourhood from 1998-2001. A Wine Spectator Grand Award winner, Veritas boasts one of the finest wine lists of any restaurant in the world. Ned has also worked at Les Juveniles in Paris, as well as Michael’s in Los Angeles, as a sommelier. Over these years, private consultancy and events included those for the Australian Embassy in Paris, and Ron Perlman and Harvey Weinstein in New York. Over this period, Ned hosted dinners for luminaries such as Laurence Faller of Alsace’s Domaine Weinbach and Etienne de Montille of Domaine de la Montille in Burgundy.

Ned also had his own Japanese television show on wine, ‘Vintage’ (2000),appeared as guest-lecturer on ‘Wine Marketing’ at one of Japan`s most prestigious universities, Keio (2002-2004), and has appeared in the New York Times, WINART, The Japan Times, Tokyo Calendar, Newsweek, Elle, on CNN, and has written for Wine Business International, Jamessuckling.com, as well as Qantas Inflight and Prestige magazines. More recently, Ned spoke alongside luminaries including Jancis Robinson and Robert Parker at Wine Futures Hong Kong, conducted master classes on Super Tuscans and Chianti Classico at ‘Divino Tuscany’, and was awarded the prize for Dux, or top scholar, at the ‘most elite wine school on earth’ – the Len Evans’ Tutorial 2012.

Pascal Jolivet, winemaker, Domaine Pascal Jolivet, Sancerre, France

Pascal Jolivet is one of the youngest and most dynamic winemakers in the Loire Valley.  Having established his vineyards in 1990, Pascal now owns an estate of more than 70 acres evenly divided into two appellations, Sancerre and Pouilly-Fumé, which have quickly gained a leading position with many Michelin-starred restaurants in France.

He favours long, slow fermentations using natural yeasts and typically keeping the wines elegantly balanced at around 12.5% alcohol. Most of the wines have been kept on lees  to develop extra complexity, texture and flavour.  Jolivet generally prefers not to age his wines in oak, which can dominate, and instead chooses to emphasize the freshness, minerality and fruit instead.

Jolivet is a firm believer in natural winemaking, and practices environmentally-friendly techniques in both the vineyard and the cellar.  “I do a kind of biodynamic vinification that takes time, but results in wines you can drink and enjoy without fatigue. My wines have finesse, elegance, and purity, with clean aromas and flavors.  There is a paradox in the winery, because I use technology, but only to control the fermentation, not to interfere. I make natural wines that are easy to drink, not ‘technical wines’ that are heavy and don’t go with food.  I have a strong philosophy that our wine is a beverage meant to complement food.  We follow our own logical approach to respect the grapes and make Sauvignon Blanc wines that are lovely, fruity and vibrant.”

Once again this year, the World Gourmet Festival supports HRH Princess Soamsawali’s Save A Child’s Life from AIDS Project under the auspices of the Thai Red Cross Society. THB 600.00 from the price of every World Gourmet dinner ticket, as well as proceeds from the World Gourmet live auction, will be donated to this charity.

The 14th World Gourmet Festival would not be possible without the help of our friends and partners. We are pleased to recognize Emirates as the presenting airline sponsor who has generously supported air tickets for the chefs. The primary sponsors such Citibank N.A., Mercedes Benz (Thailand) Ltd. and Tourism Authority of Thailand for their monetary support; and the official media partners, Travel+Leisure Magazine and Prestige Magazine.

The latest updates and further information about this year’s festival will be available at www.worldgourmetfestivalbangkok.com as well as Facebook Twitterand Instagram

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