Today’s Chef in the Spotlight, is none other than Ritz-Carlton KL’s soft spoken, executive chef who hails from Brittany, Chef Yoann Bernard. We managed to have some time alone with him, and asked him some questions that gave some insights into his life, as a Chef.
Here is our interview with him.
1. Tell us about your hometown Brittany, France and what life was like growing up.
I grew up in small village near the sea; it is a really quiet and relaxing place where I usually return to once a year.
2. How did you know you wanted to be a Chef?
My Uncle was a chef and the first time we cooked together I was thirteen years old, I knew from then on that I wanted to become a chef.
3. What prompted you to relocate to Kuala Lumpur?
I really enjoyed working for The Ritz-Carlton in Shanghai so when the general manager of The Ritz-Carlton, Kuala Lumpur, Mr. Skaf, invited me to join as Executive Chef, I said ‘yes’. I made a lot of Malaysian friends during my time working in Singapore and was familiar with the culture so I knew that it would be a good move for me.
4. What do you find most exciting about KL’s burgeoning culinary scene?
5. How does the culinary landscape in KL differ from your hometown in Brittany France? How do you see yourself adding to it?
The culinary landscape differs from Brittany through the cooking method but also because Asian cuisine uses a lot of spices, which I really enjoy. Every time I go back to France I cook produce from my hometown together with Asian spice, and this is something I try to introduce to the dishes in The Ritz-Carlton, Kuala Lumpur.
To travel the world gives me opportunity to learn and adapt to many different style of cuisine.
6. What changes do you see coming to this city?
The restaurant scene will become more competitive, especially with regard to fine dining.
7. How does your current position differ from your role at your other previous positions?
In The Ritz-Carlton in Shanghai, I use to be the number two in the kitchen. In Kuala Lumpur, my role requires me to be totally responsible for F&B at the Ritz-Carlton hotel.
8. How does your city of origin affect the menus you create for The Ritz-Carlton KL?
As I grew up near the sea I’m a big fan of seafood so I like to import products from France like oysters, lobsters and also use seafood as the feature of many dishes.
9. What dish, item or method of preparation would you say is most representative of your years cooking in fine-dining restaurants?
The Sous Vide Cooking Method when it comes to any product, whether it be fish, meat or vegetables.
10. Your life’s journeys have taken you many places. Is there one place that you really call home?
I have been working in few places around the globe (Atlanta, Kansas City, Los Angeles, Marbella, St Petersburg, Singapore, Shanghai, Kula Lumpur) but the place I call home remains Brittany. Los Angeles and St Petersburg in Russia are also places that I felt very settled.
11. Tell us about any kitchen catastrophes you might have had?
When you expect a product to come from oversea and it does not arrive, it is quite a difficult situation to be faced with.
12. Do you have any advice for up and coming Chefs?