Craving to create contemporary cuisine that infuses his French roots with the flavors and spices of our part of the world, Chef Philippe Bossert, Executive Chef at the Cairo Marriott Hotel, attentively hand-pick his cuisine elements to bring together both lushness and visual appetite to the straight-from-a-fairytale, luxury Palace. Chef Philippe spoke to us about his treasured moments, passion for cooking, keen eye for ingredients, and wide variety of life experiences that he gained over his 20 years of culinary leadership across the globe. Read through this exclusive journey filled with gastronomy arts and flavors.
How did you discover your passion for cooking?
I grew up to a chef parent who was very passionate about cooking; even planting his own ingredients. When I turned 16, I told my father that I’m interested in cooking and would like to learn more about the culinary techniques. He hooked me up with one of the best restaurants in France, L’Auberge de l’ill, where I practiced the art of cooking. After three weeks of internship, I decided to become a chef.
What’s your philosophy when it comes to cooking?
I believe that attitude and passion are key. They’re even of more significance than mastering cooking skills.
What was the first meal you ever prepared?
First meal! Oh… this was a long time ago! Honestly, I can’t remember. But for me most my treasured meal ever is my father’s Sunday meal which consisted of fresh farm chicken, fresh French fries and fresh salad.
Who are your role models in the business and what make them stand out?
French Chef Alain Du Casse is definitely my role model. He’s one of the best chefs in the world; always conveying passion to his team. I had the pleasure to be among his team in a hotel opening in Madeira Island, and it was a very fulfilling experience. Likewise, I look up to Yannick Alleno, who is also a renowned French chef. I was part of his team in the opening of resort Cheval Blanc in the Maldives, and it was certainly a noteworthy learning practice.
You worked for various establishments and in different countries: France, Germany, Portugal, Russia, Djibouti, Qatar, and more; how was your experience with the disparate cultures and diverse cuisines?
Every country brought to me new set of skills and had its own taste. The first country I travelled to was Germany. People there are very organized. In Portugal, people are very open-minded and bring a lot of fun to the table. It’s my favorite place! It’s where I met my wife. She is Portuguese, and she is a chef too. In Russia, it was a little bit hard managing the staff there as they couldn’t speak English and I couldn’t speak Russian. It was quite hard to communicate. My experience in Africa was the most amazing! When you travel to Africa you instantly become more creative and broadminded.
What made you move from specialised stand-alone restaurants to hospitality establishments?
I worked in restaurants for 10 years, and this gave me astounding knowledge in the fields of cooking and nutrition. Then, it was time to take the next step. Training and managing a staff of at least 25 people in a luxury hotel is alot about motivation and communication. It was kind of a challenge, and I thrive on challenges.
So as an Executive Chef, you are more involved in the managerial part than the cooking part?
I’m doing both. When I create the menu, I’m totally involved in the cooking part. I also make sure I participate in the making of the new dishes with my team to train them, and make sure they excel in it.