Armani's Alessandro Salvatico wins best hotel chef

Our winning head chef describes himself as a humble chef, saying: "I'm just focusing on the guest, chatting to them and serving food."

Chef Alessandro Salvatico, the 2015 Caterer Awards winner for Head Chef of the Year - Hotel Managed Outlet
Chef Alessandro Salvatico, the 2015 Caterer Awards winner for Head Chef of the Year - Hotel Managed Outlet

Alessandro Salvatico of Armani/Ristorante has taken home the coveted award for the 2015 Caterer Middle East Head Chef of the Year for a Hotel-Managed Outlet.

This award is given to those chefs who have taken significant steps to improve the operation of an outlet whose income contributes to the overall success of a hotel.

This category was filled with strong contenders but ultimately chose Salvatico, who has been with Armani since pre-opening and has taken the challenge of a restaurant refurbishment head-on to ensure the venue still delivers to the highest standards.

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Our winning head chef describes himself as a humble chef, saying: “I’m just focusing on the guest, chatting to them and serving food.”

Salvatico was presented his award by Dr David Beatty of Meat & Livestock Australia, one of the Caterer Awards 2015 sponsors.

His win was based on a glowing submission from his team, which told how he had increased customer loyalty and spend with his unwavering focus on guest enjoyment.

“I focus on the things that make the business – and the business ultimately is the guest – if you can satisfy the guest, then your job is done – the numbers will come if that’s your focus. You can’t do things for budgets, because sometimes that doesn’t match reality. We know how to make things happen at Armani, but the guest is our ultimate priority.”

His food philosophy is simple: “Get the best products, respect them and don’t spoil them too much -- nature makes beautiful things.”

Commenting on his award, Salvatico said with a huge smile: “2015 was a very successful year. This award is just one more success, but maybe the most important for us because it’s a Middle East award and Caterer is recognised as a leading magazine in the industry. I’ve been reading Caterer since I arrived in Dubai. You say to yourself, “One day I’ll be there to win an award – and now I’m here!”

Highly Commended in this category was Youssef Issa, Nawwara, JW Marriott Marquis Hotel Dubai, who the judges said is “one to watch”.

The full list of nominees for Head Chef of the Year – Hotel Managed Outlet and why they were nominated can be found here.

The Caterer Middle East Awards were held at Atlantis, The Palm on June 10. The gala event was sponsored by category sponsors Figjam, TSSC, Ronai, Meat & Livestock Australia, MMI, Aramtec, Baqer Mohebi, IFFCO, Pristine Belgium; water sponsor Acqua Panna and San Pellegrino, coffee sponsor Julius Meinl, and support sponsor Gourmet Olive Market. Also present were photobooth sponsor Pod You Like, and social media wall sponsor TintUp.

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