BANGKOK, THAILAND: Leading independent Thai hospitality brand SALA Hospitality Group is seeking to further deepen its commitment to the culinary traditions of the destinations where its properties are located with the hiring of a new Cluster Executive Chef for its sala boutique properties tasked with extending its popular Taste of Place programme.
Launched last year, Taste of Place is a celebration of the culinary customs of Thai food which varies greatly from region to region throughout the country, unearthing the unique flavours and cultural heritage accompanying the dishes.
One example of an irresistible ‘Taste of Place’ dish already offered to guests is the locally caught freshwater prawns served in Ayutthaya, sourced directly from local fishermen. Diners at sala ayutthaya have a choice of five preparations to enjoy this jumbo sized river delicacy, including fried and served with tamarind sauce; with caramelised garlic and chili; with garlic and oyster sauce; stir-fried with yellow curry powder; or stir-fried with red curry powder.
To expand on the ‘Taste of Place’ programme, Chef Fernando Roman – or Chef Ferdi as he is known – was recently tapped as Cluster Executive Chef to manage the culinary creativity at sala rattanakosin, sala ayutthaya, and sala khaoyai.
In line with his personal philosophy of farm-to-table cooking and dining, Chef Ferdi will be sourcing local ingredients and celebrating the distinctive characteristics of each region. The authenticity of flavours, ingredients, and culture that inspired the local dishes will be maintained, but the new chef will be adding his own twist of visually appealing presentations and applying more modern cooking techniques.
“The food in Thailand is already spectacular in its traditional form,” says Chef Ferdi who spent eight months in Thailand prior to joining SALA Hospitality Group in November 2017. “The sala boutique brand is very much about the place, the destination – and we will deepen this experience through food.”
Chef Ferdi brings over 18 years of experience to his new role as Cluster Executive Chef at sala boutique. After graduating with a culinary degree in his native Cape Town – during which he trained in Denmark as part of a scholarship training programme – he began his culinary journey in the United States of America before returning home where he quickly rose through the ranks to executive head chef in five star hotels and award-winning restaurants. He later returned to the U.S.A. for a stint in Florida followed by two years in Dubai before joining the pre-opening team of a hotel in Da Nang, Vietnam. Most recently, Chef Ferdi was the Executive Chef at Amari Watergate in Bangkok and his in-depth understanding of all aspects of food and beverage is reflected in his methodical approach. “I am working on getting the foundations right,” said Chef Ferdi. “We are investing in the team.”
All the properties under the sala boutique brand are know for their Thai-inspired creativity, which is not only expressed in their kitchens, but also through their design, service philosophy and the unique guest experiences that invite guests to discover the cultural and culinary nuances that surround them.