Introducing executive chef Stefan Trepp
Swiss-born chef, Stefan Trepp, takes his place in culinary history as the eighth chef to head up The Dorchester’s kitchens. Overseeing 100 chefs, across six kitchens, it’s time to meet the man himself.
How would you describe your culinary philosophy?
I’m not sure I have a culinary philosophy but I firmly believe that every chef must have an inherent passion for cooking and a respect for tradition. I’m focused on freshness and purity of ingredients and inspired by traditional recipes and flavours from all over the world, especially Asia, the Middle East and Europe.
How do you feel about your new role?
It fills me with pride to be part of such an historic institution. For decades, The Dorchester’s culinary credentials have stood amongst the best in the world, with a history of great chefs taking the lead. As a global gastronomic capital, London has its own appeal for all its diversity, quality produce and talent. I’m particularly looking forward to focusing on sustainable food practices and introducing innovative ways to source produce and reduce waste.
What’s your signature dish?
I think that would have to be my fillet of seabass with the scales on. This dish is a particular favourite and originates from a classic Asian cooking technique that makes the fish scales crispy, almost like popcorn. I serve this dish in a fennel and star anise broth, with coriander oil, fresh herbs and blossom.
Who has influenced your style of cooking the most?
That would be the wonderful Norbert Koster, who has been my mentor for many years and continues to be even though he has now retired. He helped me grow as a chef in so many different ways. He taught me how to treat all produce with love and respect, the importance of not taking shortcuts, and that less is usually more. If an element does not enhance the rest of the dish, it does not belong there. Last, but not least, he taught me to be a humble and a fair-minded chef.
What are you looking forward to experiencing in London?
One of the greatest things about London for me is the variety of the food, from fine dining through to fascinating street food ‒ you can find everything that makes a chef’s heart smile. I’m looking forward to exploring the many food markets as they’re a great source of inspiration. I love strolling around and trying all the different foods. Even if I’ve just eaten, the fusion of aromas is enough to make me hungry again.
What food trends interest you the most?
I like to keep an eye on food trends but it’s agricultural developments and sustainable food practices that really hold my attention. It’s vital we have a better understanding of where our food comes from, especially with so much climate change going on. It’s really encouraging that so many people are opting for a more plant-based diet these days. I also love the idea of creating a virtual farmers’ market app, where people can purchase local food directly from farmers, fishermen and artisans.
What do you think diners are looking for in their restaurant/food experiences?
I think both Londoners and international travellers are looking for great hospitality. This includes food, service, value and many other factors, regardless of whether it’s fine dining, casual dining or any particular type of cuisine. Innovation, creativity and location are also vital factors when it comes to choosing where to eat and these are all things I will be considering at The Dorchester.
What are your thoughts on wellness and nutrition?
People often think about wellness in terms of physical health, nutrition, exercise and weight management, but in my opinion it’s so much more. For me, wellness is a complete incorporation of physical, mental and spiritual wellbeing.
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