When LivinQ8 Met Chef Sebastiano Spriveri
Sicilian born, Chef Sebastiano Spriveri, the Executive Chef at Four Seasons Hotel Kuwait at Burj Al Shaya has a career that spans 23 years, across 3 continents within the Four Seasons group, influenced at an early age by the culinary delights of his mother, he went on to pursue his passion in gastronomy. LivinQ8 had the unique opportunity to meet this true master of his craft and enjoyed a candid conversation about his position and career at Four Seasons, Kuwait, if you would like to watch the interview, please click [Here]
Its known that your mother was your great inspiration for choosing the path to becoming a Chef, but did you face any challenges from your family when you decided to embark on this career path?
At the beginning of your career you believe there wouldn’t be any challenges, but the more you grow, and develop, with the more you experience life in the kitchen, you start to understand that it is not an easy job, but something that is completely different. You need to deal with so many, dynamics that happen on a daily basis. Being a cook at home in your kitchen is entirely different to the role I enjoy today.
Do you face any unique challenges in Kuwait, compared to other locations you have worked at? What has been one of the biggest challenges you've had to overcome?
In this part of the world one of the big challenges that I have had to overcome is recruiting staff, before I can explain the position and life at the hotel, I need to share what life is like in Kuwait to future candidates.
You have spent the past 23 years with Four Seasons, in numerous locations around the world, where has been your favourite location and why?
My favourite place is the place where I am in that moment, I have memories of the places where I've been, but, where I'm working that is my favourite place, otherwise there would be no reason to stay.
If you could have your pick where to go around the world next choice?
I really don't have any preference, but, there are things in life that will always stay with you. During my career, when I moved from Cairo to London, it was one of the biggest steps I took, the difference was shocking, challenging, but certainly exciting. The experiences I had, and continue to have, contribute to 50-60 percent of all that I do, as I travel, I try to do things differently, but there are a few dishes that are memorable for me, that remind me of the journey I have had, but I try to be creative wherever I am, creating new concepts, new foods, new ideas. It's an ongoing, never ending game. You need to be always on top of the trends, the industry, it’s a study, a market research that needs to done continuously, if you want to survive nowadays.
What foods do you like to combine and why?
As a chef, there are a lot of different products that you would like to include in your menu, or maybe they remind you of experiences during your childhood. But, I need to be very versatile, I cannot focus on one product. But, if you ask me today, in my current position, my most important product, that would be the people I’m working with, they’re an asset, a team, a family.
What is your philosophy when it comes to food?
The philosophy has to be there, without philosophy, you don't have the foods and tradition is a very important. The young generation learn fast, but the traditions of 30/40years ago, whatever the cuisine is very different, and difficult for many to understand.
What has been your biggest personal achievement to date?
Is to be successful in Kuwait, its a completely different market to anything I have experienced in the past, where I’m learning on a daily basis, it’s a continuous learning curve, that isn’t easy.
Is there a particular dish you crave when you're sick?
Just a simple cup of tea, I'm not a big eater anymore, I enjoy more vegetables and I love fish, when I’m cooking at home or with friends, I like to cook things very simple, otherwise, I like to go out for dinner and explore Kuwait.
What's your favourite dish created at Four Seasons, Kuwait?
Its not a favourite dish in particular, but the concept we have created with our restaurant Dai Forni
We’ve heard a rumour, that you have some friends coming over, and that something unusual is planned for next year
Its true…but now no longer a secret 😊! We are planning a reunion called Sebastiano & friends, and we will announce this unique event very soon. My childhood friends from my birthplace in Sicily and another friend from Milan, will come to Kuwait to combine our culinary skills….but we don’t know whats cooking yet…..stay tuned for more!
What would be your advice to anyone thinking of becoming a chef?
I always say do it, make it, and make it right. Have a mentor beside you, to help you understand the job of being a Chef today, which is very different to 15-20 years ago. Today you can switch on the television and see star chefs, there are many things happening around food these days
Would you like to have your own TV show?
I’d love to, its something I would love to do.
What would you say is the biggest misconception of being a Chef?
The Chef you see on a television show is very different to the role I have,It is, a very complicated but beautiful job. Of course there are days more challenging than others, but that is when it helps to have a good number two, to absorb some of the pressure that is there on a daily basis.
If you hadn’t been a chef, what would your chosen profession be?
I don't know, what I am today. So again, a Chef. I cannot see myself in different shoes or, different, uniform other than this one. Its my life. Being a Chef is a passion, its is a commitment. You need to have patience, working with food, you cannot afford to have a mistake, and these days, people understand food more than ever.
What has been your biggest disaster in the kitchen?
Its not really a disaster, but one of the biggest challenges I faced was an outdoor catering event during Ramadan in Egypt. The event was to be held at a Golf Club, and the truck, with the food, set up, etc, broke down, in the middle of the road, 2 hours away from the venue. The location had o be set up for Iftar, so the pressure was on, we had just half an hour to do the set up, once we finally arrived.
Did you make it happen?
Yes, we made it happen, with just a few challenges
What about your funniest moment in the kitchen?
When I’m in the right mood……I sing in the kitchen, it doesn’t happen everyday, but it happens 😊
Click [Here] to watch Executive Chef, Sebastiano Spriveri’s interview in full.
To visit Four Seasons Kuwait at Burj Alshaya, and taste the wonderful delights that Executive Chef Sebastiano Spriveri prepares with his team, please click [Here] to visit their website or call/email their reservation team on: +(965) 2200 6065, firstname.lastname@example.org