Ricardo Chaneton, Chef de Cuisine of Restaurant Petrus Island Shangri-La Hong Kong shares with The Yum List his passion for cooking and how he first ventured into the industry.
My name is Ricardo Chaneton. I was born in Caracas, Venezuela. In my 13 years of experience in the fine dining industry, French cuisine has always captured my heart. After years invested in France, I am currently the Chef de Cuisine of Restaurant Petrus – the iconic French restaurant at Island Shangri-La, Hong Kong. I joined the restaurant three years ago.
What do you do and how did you get into the industry?
My journey as a chef began with a good friend who gave me a timely recommendation during a period of uncertainty. After leaving sociology studies at the university and failing medical school in the first months, I was contemplating my future and a friend who was studying in a culinary school convinced me to follow his steps, so I started researching about a career as a professional chef. Within a month, I was already enrolled at a culinary school near my home.
What’s the best/ worst part of your job?
Most of the time when you share a kitchen with somebody, you don’t know if s/he will become a life-long friend, but the amazing part is that food always unites people regardless of their backgrounds, ages, experiences, etc… Food is powerful!
There is no worst part if you love what you do and you are patient to wait for the right reward at the right time.
What’s your favourite meal at Island Shangri-La?
I love the double-boiled soups in Summer Palace (our Michelin-starred Chinese restaurant); the Frou-frou chocolate cake at our cake shop Island Gourmet; the steak and personalized cocktails in Lobster Bar and Grill; the Pad Thai in the alfresco Waterside Terrace; the teppanyaki menu at Nadaman Japanese restaurant and of course our signature Lobster a la Presse at Restaurant Petrus!
What’s one of the wildest, craziest or funniest things you’ve seen behind the scenes?
I need to confess that I loved the way we said goodbye to colleagues in the European kitchens. Whenever a colleague had resigned, we would prepare plastic containers filled with fish offal, pastry colourant, oil, flour, eggs (from one week ago!), and everyone would throw them at the colleague on his/her last service day. As you can imagine, this could get really wild, crazy and funny!
The perfect day off would be…
Family time – cook for my loved ones without the stress of the profession; or a nice BBQ with friends where everyone collaborates without any pressure.
A day in the life of a chef is …
… really interesting, you always ask yourself, who will be the person I cook for today. You also get to meet so many people and learn about something new from them.
What do you do for fun?
Play the guitar. I also love to experience and collect new wines.
What’s something you’d like guests to know about Petrus?
Petrus is the first hotel restaurant in Hong Kong to have its own rooftop garden. We are extremely proud of this green and sustainable initiative that offers a new healthy option in the fine dining scene.
What’s your favourite food and beverage pairing?
I love the match between a Mouton 82 and a simple dish of sautéed morels stuffed with foie gras and winter black truffle sauce.
What’s in store for you in the upcoming months?
We will keep developing ideas for the implementation of more produce from our own rooftop garden. More tests will be done in our kitchen and we will be germinating new seeds to test a wider scope of possible implementation on hydroponic farming.