Hakkasan chef wins Head Chef of the Year

Head chef of standalone eatery takes home prestigious Caterer Award

Head chef Lee Kok Hua of Hakkasan Abu Dhabi.
Head chef Lee Kok Hua of Hakkasan Abu Dhabi.

Caterer Middle East last night crowned head chef Lee Kok Hua of Hakkasan Abu Dhabi as 2013 Head Chef of the Year – Independent Outlet at a glittering ceremony held at Dubai’s Ritz-Carlton DIFC (12 June 2013).

In the short time that head chef Lee Hua has been in the Middle East, having joined Hakkasan Abu Dhabi in 2011, he has become a decorated member of the regional F&B scene, scooping a total of 11 regional awards including accolades from Time Out and Gourmet magazine.

Lee Hua took home Caterer Middle East’s coveted head chef crown this year as a professional, “who sees it as his duty to ensure that diners are educated on each dish so they can truly appreciate the cuisine.” According to director of operation Henk Bruggeman, the chef is frequently seen talking to customers when he is not busy in the kitchen.

As a master of Chinese and Cantonese cuisine, the head chef looks to emphasis the specific taste of every ingredient through clean, light and where possible fresh and locally sourced produce.

Speaking at last night’s awards the elated chef said: “ It feels very good to win this award for Hakkasan.”

General manager, Vinicio Alberelli commented: "We are very pleased to have chef Lee at Hakkasan Abu Dhabi. He came here from London to help us open the restaurant and is like a mentor to us; we would not have been able to achieve this without him.”

This year’s Head Chef of the Year – Independent Outlet was a closely contested category. Hugh Sato Gardiner of Okku Dubai Restaurant, Bar and Lounge was a close runner up receiving the Highly Commended award for helping the venue increase the average spend per head by an exceptional 68% through a focus on expanding the Okku experience.

The Head Chef of the Year - Independent Outlet Award was sponsored by IFFCO and presented by Mat Baker, CEO of Foodservice.

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