30-year-old chef scoops Young Hotelier crown

Gregoire Berger, chef de cuisine at Atlantis The Palm's Ossiano, has been revealed as Hotelier Middle East's Young Hotelier of the Year 2016

Michael Kitts presenting the award to Gregoire Berger.
Michael Kitts presenting the award to Gregoire Berger.

Gregoire Berger, chef de cuisine at Atlantis The Palm's Ossiano, has been revealed as Hotelier Middle East's Young Hotelier of the Year 2016.

Right after winning the trophy, Berger told Hotelier: "To be honest, this is a really great achievement. It’s been two years since I’ve been working like crazy with my team to do something fantastic to make sure that the UAE recognises us for the work that we are doing every day. This is amazing."

The award was sponsored by The Emirates Academy of Hospitality Management (EAHM), and Berger was presented his trophy by EAHM's director of culinary arts Michael Kitts.

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More than 50 nominations came through for this category, and Berger was highlighted as one who has made great progression throughout his career in the industry, and has contributed towards improving operations within the property.

Berger fought off tough competition from other young hoteliers including: Anne Fernandes from Jumeirah International; Jeffrey Speelman from Hilton Al Ain; Rabia Shaukat from Le Meridien Abu Dhabi and Shaikha Al Mudahka from Al Rayyan Hospitality.

Highly Commended in this category was Daniel Scholles from Kempinski Ajman.

Berger goes beyond his remit as a chef de cuisine and thinks about the overall profitability of his hotel. He has continued to retain award titles for his restaurant, and has been the first hotel-based chef who has represented the Africa & Middle East region at the San Pellegrino Young Chef competition.

His commitment to sustainability in ingredients procurement is well known, and his kitchen receives more cross-training requests than any other department in the resort.

Berger told Hotelier he is committed to reduction of food wastage and said: "We should not waste our food. We should be conscious of our environment and we need to use all the products that we have without any wastage if possible."

He also highlighted the importance of training, which was one of the reasons why the judges voted in his favour: "There is a young generation in Dubai that is coming from all around the world and we have to teach them what we know.

"My advice to other chefs is to build a team for the future - you have to help them grow and then grow yourself."

The Hotelier Middle East Awards 2016 took place on October 26 at The Ritz-Carlton DIFC with an Old Hollywood Glamour theme.

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