Nestlé Professional MENA has appointed chef Elie Lteif as culinary advisor. Here, we interview the mastermind behind the kitchen to find out more.
Chef Elie, please tell us a little more about your trip before you land at Nestlé.
I started my career as a chef in 2001, then I graduated in hotel cuisine and pastry arts in 2004 with honors. Passionate about cooking and all its aspects, and passionate about culinary preparation, I specialized in French cuisine, working for international brands such as Le Bistro De Beirut and Entrecôte de Paris.
I then joined the international Buddha Bar chain, joining the pre-opening teams as a chef de partie. Passionate about more than 11 types of cuisine, I tend to create themed menus and nights, as well as special and private events that mix different tastes.
In 2005, I joined the hospitality sector at the Royal Hotel Beirut, a 5 star hotel, as chef de partie where I was promoted to junior sous-chef. In 2008, I moved to hotel management as a chef, then I was promoted to executive chef for pre-opening projects at Noir Motion Lounge in Beirut.
In 2013, I moved to Dubai for an Executive Chef role at Cedar Dining Hospitality Management, leading a culinary team of 120 employees and managing seven outlets and a central kitchen production serving international and modern Lebanese cuisines with an operation massive restoration.
In 2016, I was part of the pre-opening team as the Executive Chef of the Metropolitan Boutique Hotel under Habtoor Hospitality Group, managing the six outlets, including a pub, an Italian restaurant, a sushi bar, all day dining, banquet and room service, plus catering events.
From 2017 to present, I have been Executive Chef at Nassima Royal Hotel, which has been transformed into VOCO Hotel Dubai under IHG leadership and part of the pre-opening team of the first VOCO brand in the Middle -Orient, managing all culinary operations.
What aspects of cooking are you most passionate about?
I have been a chef for over 20 years, each stage of my career surrounding me with more than 15 types of cuisine. I found myself constantly looking for new, fresh concepts that appealed to me more than the traditional ones. I use this mindset in all of my recipes and also implement it with cooking methods / style.
I try to stay up to date with new cooking technologies and new types of cooking and then I use my creativity to finally create it my way.
In terms of innovation, what do you plan to bring to the position?
As it’s a tough time in the F&B industry when it comes to budgeting and manpower, I intend to provide chefs with a faster, tastier, more creative, more consistent and more cost effective.
What are some of the most important trends you will focus on?
Plant-based / vegan / flexitarian lifestyles are all the rage right now. I will focus on driving SWEET EARTH® as one of Nestlé’s brands, bringing it to life on restaurant and hotel menus by creating new recipes using this premium range.