Chefs of the Great Hotels of the World Season 1
The series roster of masterful chefs is as diverse as it is accomplished – from Executive Chef Cai Kang Rong at the Shangri-La in Hangzhou, renowned for his Chinese delicacies for more than 30 years; to Le Meurice’s Executive Chef Yannick Alléno, who was awarded two Michelin stars in his first year of service there for his fresh, decidedly Parisian interpretations.
The Chefs reveals the top tier of culinary arts today in the ways that they are realized – working everyday, in the kitchen, going to the local fish and produce markets for inspiration, for the freshest available ingredients. Then the real cooking begins. Meticulously, deftly the ingredients are transformed into fine and luscious creations before our very eyes.
Series Host Ron Brown’s spirited yet unpretentious approach invites a level of intimacy and candor from the world’s top chefs rarely shared on television. No subject is off limits – from the influence of ego and temperament in running the kitchen, to the challenges of advancing culinary innovation while ensuring success for today’s corporate bottom lines.
Ron Brown, Wayne Hirobayashi, Marcus Wareing, Chef Kwong, Rainer Sigg, Sumalee Boonek, Yannick Alleno, Jonathon Wright, Gu De Long, Englebert Gamsriegler, Ron Seigel, Thierry Voison, Alf Wagenzink, Kai Kang Rong
Honolulu - Kahala Resort25m
Executive Chef Wayne Hirabayashi has been cooking at the beautiful five-diamond Kahala Resort in Honolulu for nearly twenty years. Featuring an open-plan kitchen, the main dining area of the Kahala’s signature restaurant, Hokus, integrates diners and chefs, while overlooking the hotel’s private beach. Chef Wayne takes host Ron Brown to an early morning tuna auction at the fish markets, to a farm that produces special ‘micro’ greens for his signature dishes, and then cooks up three dishes based on Hawaii’s unique seafood varieties Ahi, Mahi Mahi, and Red Snapper.
London - Savoy Hotel25m
Located in the heart of London’s posh St James area, right on The Strand, The Savoy Hotel and it’s famous Grill have long been the haven of the rich and famous. Recently handed over to celebrity chef Gordon Ramsay and his partner Marcus Wareing, the Savoy Grill has seen a stunning face-lift and a revamping of the food concept while retaining traditional values. Marcus explains the concepts behind the changes and introduces the Chefs Table, and Chef Josh Emett prepares a dressed Crab Salad, Pork Belly with Truffled White Beans and Langoustines, and a dessert that will have chocolate lovers drooling!
Hong Kong - Langham Hotel25m
Chef Kwong of The Tang Court Restaurant at The Langham Hotel in Hong Kong has won nearly every cooking prize in the former colony. With its island geography, Hong Kong is famous for it’s seafood, and The Tang Court is no exception. Chef Kwong prepares tasty Lobster, Prawn and Crab dishes, and Host Ron Brown visits Sok Kwu Wan and Lei Yu Mun fishing villages, as well as the Shuen Wan shopping district where every other shop sells dried seafood!
Berlin - Hotel Adlon25m
The Hotel Adlon, originally built by leading hotelier and wine merchant Lorenz Adlon, was burned to the ground accidently by the Soviet troops who liberated Berlin at the end of WWII. Derelict during the Cold War, it has recently been rebuilt and completely restored by the Kempinski Hotel group as it’s flagship property. Chef Rainer Sigg has been at the hotel since it opened. His complete commitment to the utmost in customer service is reflected in the meticulous preparation of Marinated Raw Tuna served with asparagus and a caper pancake, his signature Leek Cream Soup with Monk Fish medallions and his gorgeous Chocolate Cake with Baby Bananas and Cheese Curd dessert.
Bangkok - Peninsula Hotel25m
The Peninsula Hotel, built on the banks of the Chao Phraya River, is a recent addition to Bangkok’s skyline. Traditional Thai restaurant, Thiptara, is overseen by a woman Chef, Sumalee Boonek, which is itself unusual in luxury hotels. Host Ron Brown visits the local seafood, fruit, vegetable and flower markets by water taxi, then returns to the Peninsula for an exotic cooking lesson in the Thiptara kitchen, where Chef Sumalee prepares Chicken & Shrimp Tartlets, Deep Fried Beef Salad, Rock Lobster in a Red Curry and the unique dessert, Angel Hair Egg Yolk, right on the river banks.
Paris - Hotel Meurice25m
It all starts deep in the French countryside, where the excellent produce that underpins all French cuisine is grown. Host Ron Brown visits Bourge in the Loire Valley on Market Day, and then travels to Paris to meet 2-Michelin Starred Chef Yannick Alleno at the Hotel Meurice. Unaffected by current trends that he describes as “not my spirit”, Alleno prefers to use only the best ingredients and to put them on the plate! He believes the new and the traditional can happily co-exist. We see Chef Alleno prepare Langoustines with Caviar, Lobster with Baby Potatoes and Girolle Mushrooms, and in the patisserie we witness the creation of gorgeous mini Fruit Tarts with Orange and Strawberry.
New Orleans - Windsor Court Hotel25m
The Windsor Court Hotel in New Orleans is a little corner of England transplanted to the deep South. An all-suite hotel that features a Polo Lounge and a Grill Room overseen by expatriate English Executive Chef Jonathon Wright, the hotel successfully combines a love of all things English and the best of southern produce and hospitality. Hailing from a farming family, Wright takes host Ron Brown to the local Farmers Market to buy some Creole tomatoes, local berries and some shrimp pulled fresh from the Mississippi delta. After a look around New Orleans it’s back to the Windsor Court where Chef Wright prepares hors d’oeuvres for the Polo Lounge, Loin of Lamb and Raviolli for the Grill, while overseeing up to 2000 covers a day. In the patisserie Chef Jove Hubbard creates a Pineapple Medley dessert to die for!
Shanghai - Peace Hotel25m
The Chinese kitchen is organised quite differently to the Western kitchen, and features Chefs trained in either Cutting or Cooking. At the historic 100-year old Peace Hotel right on the Bund in fast changing Shanghai, Chef Gu De Long introduces host Ron Brown to both cold and hot dishes that have been signature to the Peace Hotel dining room for decades. As it’s the Year of the Rooster by the Chinese calendar, an ornately carved rooster salad is prepared, followed by seafood delicacies Crystal Shrimp and Squirrel Fish that is Garoupa prepared with a special cutting technique and deep fried. A traditional sweet-and-sour sauce is prepared and it really does end up looking like a squirrel on the plate!
Russia - Grand Hotel Europa & Hotel Baltschug25m
Russia boasts international class hotels in major centres, and the best of these are The Grand Hotel Europe in St Petersburg and The Baltchug in Moscow. Built on a swamp, St Petersburg is unable to supply most of it’s own food needs, so Executive Chef Engelbert Gamsreigler ships all his kitchens needs in twice a week from western Europe. However, one thing he can source within Russia is the excellent caviar he personally serves host Ron Brown in the Caviar and Vodka Bar. After a visit to the stunning Hermitsage Museum, Ron returns to the kitchen to witness the preparation of the giant Kamchatka Crab, before heading to the Baltchug in Moscow by Trans Siberian steam train. Once there, Brown visits Red Square, St Basils Cathedral and the Gum Department Store before meeting Chef de Cuisine Nicholas Courtois, who prepares Sturgeon with Crayfish and a ragout of local vegetables, and for dessert a Poached Peach with red basil syrup and home made ice-cream.
San Francisco - Ritz Carlton Hotel25m
San Francisco is certainly “foodie heaven” and Host Ron Brown starts his exploration of San Francisco with a visit to the Ferry Plaza Farmers Market to experience the best local organic produce. On to the Ritz Carlton atop Nob Hill by street car, where he meets Chef de Cuisine Ron Seigel, who has recently joined the hotel from famous local restaurants Masa and Charles Nob Hill. Chef Siegel has embraced molecular gastronomy, a craze sweeping the globe that originated with top ranked Chef Ferran Adria at Restaurant El Bulli in Spain, and demonstrates cutting edge dishes using adventurous combinations of sweet and savoury, and intense flavoured geleés distilled from a wide range of natural ingredients. Host Ron Brown samples the degustation menu of nine courses, talks to Chef Siegel about his menu design philosophy and discovers the culture shock that has resulted from Seigel’s adventurous approach in this staid corporate hotel culture.
Tokyo - Imperial Hotel25m
Starting his journey of discovery at the heart of Tokyo’s shopping district, The Ginza, host Ron Brown finds Tokyo the cleanest, quietest and most polite city he has visited so far. It’s a short walk from the Ginza to the Imperial Hotel, facing the Imperial Palace and it’s sumptuous gardens, where we discover two of the hotels 17 eateries. The Nadaman Restaurant in the basement features traditional tempura dishes, and Head Chef Mr Nagayama demonstrates the well-kept secrets of this crunchy Japanese specialty. Ron visits the Tokyo Fish Markets, a sprawling complex covering city blocks, with his old friend and top Tokyo sushi chef Hiro, and returns to the Imperial to participate in a Tea Ceremony in a secret garden inside the hotel. Executive Chef of the French restaurant Les Seasons, Thierry Voisin, takes viewers through the steps to creating a mouth-watering dish of John Dory with artichokes. Ron visits the Meiji Shrine and witnesses a traditional Japanese wedding there, and returns to the Imperial for Rhubarb Bon Bons.
Budapest - Hotel Corvinus25m
Historic Budapest is really two cities sitting astride the beautiful Danube River. Expatriate German Chef Alf Wagenzink has introduced his native Brauhaus cuisine to the recently built Corvinus Hotel by building a brew house restaurant and creating home made sausage dishes. Further innovation at the Corvinus is the Art Gallery with rotating exhibitions on the mezzanine level. Back in the kitchen, Alf prepares traditional Hungarian goulash and a pan fried Goose Liver dish. Ron visits the historic St. Mathias Church, whose hand made roof tiles were removed during World War Two bombing and relayed when peace was restored. Chef Wagenzink cooks Steaks wrapped in bacon, and a watermelon chocolate-chip gelato ice cream served in chilled champagne soup.
Hangzhou - Shangri-La Hotel25m
The Shangri-La Hotel was, until recently, a Communist Party resort and meeting venue. Located on the banks of the beautiful West Lakes, the hotel is set in 40 acres of manicured gardens, and provides every amenity to tourists and locals alike. Chef Kai Kang Rong has been at this property for more than 30 years! His menu consists of local dishes made from local ingredients, including water lilies, prawns and fish drawn from the West Lakes and exquisite Dragon Well Tea from the local plantations in the hills surrounding Hangzhou. Ron visits a traditional Chinese herbalist whose philosophy is “food is medicine” and also calls in at the Hangzhou fish markets. Chef Kai prepares local delicacy Beggars Chicken.