• Sunday, May 19, 2024
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The chef behind the kitchen


 At 7am he is already in the kitchen doing his routine checks. From the industrial fridges, the stores to the key kitchen staff, he makes sure things are in place for the day’s job. Of course, he must collate data of guests in the hotel from the front desk to enable him plan efficiently and ahead.

Yet, he sacrifices one hour every day to mentor the kitchen staff, starting from the theory to the fundamental practical that sees to constant delivery of quality delicacies that satiate all palates and guests in the hotel.

Welcome to the world of Morne Carelse, executive sous chef, Federal Palace Hotel & Casino, Lagos. A visit to the hotel managed by Sun International, South African hotel management group, is not complete without a taste of Chef Carelse’s delicacies on offer at the Explorers Restaurant in the hotel.

Chef Carelse is truly behind the restaurant and right in the kitchen with an array of his kitchen lieutenants whose individual and collective efforts make an experience at the restaurant a call to indulge in world-class cuisine and culinary delights fresh from the kitchen.

With over 20 years experience on the job, spanning from five-star hotels, world-class resorts and luxury cruise lines across the world, Chef Carelse is more than capable of managing affairs at the sprawling kitchen of the premier hotel. He has effortlessly created a culinary tour de force with a simple yet varied menu that tantalises all palates be it African, Asian or continental. A taste of his signature menu at the Explorers Restaurant is all you need to affirm his culinary prowess.

“Cooking is dynamic and challenges your creativity as you keep learning every day. Despite my expatriate background, I have learnt how to cook ‘egusi’ and ‘ogbono’ soups, make ‘eba’, ‘suya’ spices, pepper soup, and all sorts of local cuisines,” he tells me.

Well, that is possible with a great deal of co-operation and understanding from the kitchen staff who are also tapping from his wealth of experience from the Sun International Group. Since he joined the Victoria Island, Lagos-based hotel one year ago, the kitchen has regained its rightful place as core to the success of the hotel’s business as every meal is prepared with the enjoyment of guests in mind.

“Besides our insistence on quality, maintenance of the best hygiene standard, and cooking in the healthiest way, we change our menu every three months. That positively impacts on our meals that now come with a strong focus on immaculate presentation, delectable combinations of taste, flavour and individual flair,” he explains.

To make dining an experience for every diner, the executive sous chef also recommends the wine that complements the menu, leaving the diner with a desire to repeat the experience.

Again, the satisfactory remarks and gestures from the teeming diners at the end of every meal, according to Chef Carelse, means only one thing: “We kept to our promise to satiate your palates no matter how sophisticated they are.”

He notes, “No matter how cozy the room is, how classy the facilities are or how engaging entertainment offerings are, the kitchen is still the soul of the hotel. It fetes and brings guests closer to the character of the hotel.”

Because of the importance of his department in the overall interest of the hotel, Chef Carelse is always in the kitchen doing real cooking than giving instructions.

However, the management of the hotel woos both business and leisure visitors on one very important reason to visit the hotel, besides the irresistible offerings at the value-for-money luxury rooms, the spectacular new pool and recreation club, the world-class casino offering hours of exciting entertainment and winning opportunities for guests, among others.

That singular reason is a special date at the Explorers Restaurant to taste the specialties Carelse and his team of kitchen professionals are bringing to table.

Do keep a date with Chef Carelse at the restaurant. And, always ask to see him when the food digests well.