Sebastian, Head Chef

Kempinski Hotel Berchtesgaden

Your pride in craftsmanship evolves our traditions

How did you begin your career as a Chef?

A bit by surprise actually. My grandfather, father and sister are electrical engineers, and I thought I would follow in this path, but after I did my schooling I knew it wasn’t my passion and that I wanted to work with my hands. From the first day when I attended a culinary training at Kempinski in Munich, it just felt right. I went home that same day and told my family I would become a Chef. They laughed at first out of surprise, but since then every day I do what I love. I began an apprenticeship as a chef with Kempinski in Munich where I stayed for 3.5 years. I worked in Berchtesgaden while the hotel was in the process of being branded as a Kempinski as chef de partie then grew into a sous chef for the entire offering including the Michelin star restaurant. Afterwards I moved around a bit, to London and New York and I think this helped me to develop my personality and style as a Chef, and also about leadership, cultural diversity and communication. It took me out of my comfort zone and then of course I brought what I learned to Kempinski when I returned.

What is your favourite part of your job?

This might not come as a huge surprise, but my favourite part of my job as a chef is cooking. In fact, even in my personal life one of the activities I enjoy most is cooking for my family and friends. On my days off I will go to the market to buy fresh produce, new ingredients so that I can go home and cook and experiment with different dishes, many of which even make it onto the menu at the hotel. Apart from cooking, my other favourite part of my job is working with my team and teaching them different techniques. I’ve learned a lot from a lot of people over the years and I really enjoy sharing my knowledge and seeing my team evolve in their skills and culinary styles.

What is your most memorable Kempinski experience?

The rebranding of the hotel in Berchtesgaden to Kempinski was a truly unique experience for me. In 6 weeks we had to build a completely new menu from scratch for one of the restaurants, shifting from a traditional international style to a modern interpretation of local Bavarian cuisine. We took care of everything, from sourcing local vendors, product tasting, building relationships with local farmers and bakeries. We had bread baked for us based on the ingredients we defined. It was so rewarding to be given this responsibility and this freedom. It was incredibly fun and team spirit was as high as it could be. It was hard work, but the end result was worth it. Guests even asked us if they could buy the bread to take home as a souvenir because it was so delicious. We as chefs meet guests quite often and to see and be told how much people are enjoying the food is incredibly rewarding.