Swedish chef claims top job at Raffles

“Earlier I have spontaneously accepted jobs offered to me if they had what I wanted. But when Raffles hotel called I had to think it over for a while. Raffles is so much, a culinary institution,” says 35 year-old Stockholm native Kristoffer Luczak, since mid July Executive Chef at Raffles Hotel in Singapore, managing the classic hotel’s 16 restaurants and a big number of chefs, among them two fellow Swedes.
     “She is a grand dame among Asia’s hotels, ranked as one of the world’s best food and beverage operations,” continues Kristoffer Luczak who has traveled the world and worked in great kitchens in Middle East, USA, Australia, Asia and Europe since his early 20’s.
     Tell us about the first week at Raffles.
     “Extremely exciting. A very cutting edge kitchen operation in a historic place. Impression wise, a market leader, top produce, high level of service, great product, top professional, the history…so all just exciting, new, challenging, demanding. It is like having Christmas everyday.”
     The last three years before Raffles he served in a similar position at Bangkok’s Peninsula hotel. During this period the hotel got several prestigious awards, in 2003 nominated world’s best by the leading travel magazines Conde Nast Traveler and Travel + Leisure.
     Any mentors or great cooks that have guided you on the way?
     “I believe in myself and do my own things. Of course I learn from those I work with but not to the extent that I have examples or mentors,” explains Kristoffer Luczak. “That doesn’t work for me. You limit yourself by looking up to too many others.”
     “Raffles is more daring than Peninsula,” he continues. “I have quite free hands and am sure to live up to the expectations in their 16 restaurants. And with the ingredients we have in Asia you can do so much. We don’t deal with semi produce like in the US and Europe. That gives us much more to create food of.”
     What inspirations from home do you bring into your cooking?
     “Before my father, who came from Poland, passed away he liked to hunt wild game and cook it at home. So I like to work with game and outdoor ingredients. The Swedish kitchen’s marinades and cold cut dishes is another source for inspiration.”
     His own favourite food is however far from the gilded five star worlds of foie gras and great wines.
     “A slaughterhouse plate, Slavic style, with sauerkraut, sausages and meat. If available that is my choice. Otherwise traditional home cooking the in the country of residence. That’s always a great option.”

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