As ex­ec­u­tive chef of The Ritz-carl­ton, Hong Kong, Peter Find has been fo­cus­ing on fresh cook­ing by stay­ing true to his phi­los­o­phy of us­ing sea­sonal and qual­ity in­gre­di­ents. And, as the Ger­man-born chef re­veals, both he and his food are any­thing but bland.

The Peak (Hong Kong) - - Food & Drink • View - STORY AP­PLE MANDY POR­TRAIT CHING-HO MAN

Peter Find has come a long way from his tiny Ger­man vil­lage of just 800 peo­ple and its many veg­etable plots and small farms. The sense of fresh and lo­cal pro­duce is some­thing he now brings to his work as ex­ec­u­tive chef of The Ritz-carl­ton, Hong Kong.

The in­ter­view with Find com­mences on a Fri­day af­ter­noon in a pri­vate Chef's Ta­ble room at The Ritz­Carl­ton, Hong Kong. As soon as he en­ters, Find is en­gaged and proac­tive, en­thu­si­as­ti­cally in­tro­duc­ing him­self and ask­ing how we want him to pose for the pho­to­graph. It's un­usual to find some­one with this much en­ergy af­ter a morn­ing full of meet­ings. Find lays out a piece of pa­per dis­play­ing his de­cid­edly full sched­ule for the day. “Here, look at this,” he says. “I'm too busy, but I like it.”

Clearly, Find has a wide range of du­ties and re­spon­si­bil­i­ties. His role in­volves man­ag­ing six restau­rants and bars – Tosca, Tin Lung Heen, Ozone, Café 103, The Lounge & Bar and Al­mas Caviar Bar, as well as in-room din­ing, ban­quet­ing, and cater­ing. On top of this al­ready very full plate of re­spon­si­bil­ity, he also man­ages about 130 staff. Asked what it's like to man­age this many peo­ple, Find gives a can­did, as­sured re­tort. “It's like babysit­ting. Some can work in­de­pen­dently, while oth­ers need a lit­tle su­per­vi­sion. There are al­ways one or two prima don­nas, who are usu­ally the se­nior ones. Those who com­plain a lot, I try to put them back into re­al­ity. As a chef, you have to be fair to ev­ery­one; you can­not pri­ori­tise any­body.”

Find has been with The Ritz-carl­ton, Hong Kong since its pre-open­ing in June 2010. Prior to the ho­tel's of­fi­cial launch in March 2011, Find says he was faced with the most chal­leng­ing time of his ca­reer, when he was tasked with find­ing can­di­dates to staff each restau­rant. Luck­ily enough, he says, his con­nec­tions in the in­dus­try al­lowed him to re­alise the task in time.

Be­ing part of the ho­tel's open­ing and train­ing chefs are just two of Find's proud­est mo­ments. Dur­ing his six-year ten­ure, two of the ho­tel's restau­rants have earned Miche­lin stars; Can­tonese restau­rant Tin Lung Heen achieved its first Miche­lin star within six months of open­ing, be­fore gain­ing a se­cond in 2012. Ital­ian restau­rant Tosca gained a star in 2014. As Find puts it, earn­ing these stars is “quite an achieve­ment”.

Find has also re­ceived a few ac­co­lades him­self to stow un­der his culi­nary belt. In 2011, he was nom­i­nated for the Award of Culi­nary Ex­cel­lence Asia Pa­cific Chef of the Year. In 2013, he won the pres­ti­gious Chef Hote­lier of the Year award at the first Hote­lier Awards China.

The pro­fes­sional ac­com­plish­ments Find has achieved over the years not only re­flect on his lead­er­ship skills but also his quest for ex­cel­lent food. While other ho­tel chefs fo­cus heav­ily on pre­sen­ta­tion, Find fo­cuses his at­ten­tion on qual­ity in­gre­di­ents and sea­sonal pro­duce. For ex­am­ple, the John Dory he serves is sourced in New Zealand, and the lamb is sourced in France.

Find has also signed up to the ever-pop­u­lar mis­sion for sus­tain­abil­ity. For him, us­ing sus­tain­able in­gre­di­ents “helps the en­vi­ron­ment and sup­ports farm­ers, as well as pro­motes health”. He adds they also sim­ply taste bet­ter – 60 per cent of veg­eta­bles served at the ho­tel come from Eco Farm, lo­cated in Jiangxi prov­ince, south­east China.

“The veg­eta­bles there [at Eco Farm] have more tex­ture be­cause they grow in a moun­tain­ous area where there's a cool cli­mate and red soil,” Find ex­plains. “When I went there early last year, they didn't have enough pro­duce. Since I find their prod­ucts good, I told the farm­ers what spe­cific items I need for the next six months, so they can grow them for me.”

At The Lounge & Bar's colour­ful salad bar, Find makes use of these veg­eta­bles: beet­roots the size of a ten­nis ball, 10 types of let­tuce, seven types of toma­toes, and three types of cau­li­flower – yel­low, pur­ple and white. As au­tumn ap­proaches, Find is adding pump­kin, squash, mush­room and cab­bage to the menu. Grains and seeds like quinoa, teff and freekeh, mean­while, are sourced from the Red Mill Farm in the US.

Dishes at the ho­tel's restau­rants are fre­quently served with a veg­etable gar­nish, a trick Find picked up when work­ing at the Altes Bad­haus Ho­tel in Eber­back, Ger­many, from 1989 to 1990. Now with such an abun­dant sup­ply of in­gre­di­ents, the chef lets his cre­ativ­ity run free.

Find favours the sweet­ness of the onions, as well as cel­ery, leek, pota­toes and corn. He is also fond of us­ing vanilla to flavour dishes like an­gel hair pasta with lob­ster. “I have an ex­pen­sive taste,” he jokes, point­ing out that vanilla is one of the world's most ex­pen­sive in­gre­di­ents. “If you un­der­stand the [in­gre­di­ent] well, you can ac­tu­ally make many dishes with it.”

01 02 01 The Chef's Ta­ble at The Ritz­Carl­ton, Hong Kong 02 At­lantic sea scal­lop carpac­cio with car­rot and chervil purée, green pep­per­corn, orange but­ter sauce, and frozen orange with co­coa 03 Oven roast veni­son with caramelised baby veg­eta­bles, cherry b

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