Culinary artist and expert craftsman Pedro Samper has joined Four Seasons Resort Dubai at Jumeirah Beach as Executive Chef. His wealth of knowledge and skill stems from 20 years of experience, working in Michelin star kitchens alongside some of the world’s most decorated chefs. Samper’s role sees him lead the Resort’s culinary team, overseeing some of Dubai’s favourite dining destinations including Sea Fu, Mercury Lounge and Shai Salon.
“My love for exploring culture carried me to Dubai, and my passion for pursuing excellence brought me to Four Seasons,” says Pedro Samper, Executive Chef, Four Seasons Resort Dubai. “To be a part of such a passionate and diverse team gives me a feeling of home. Growing up, I had to travel the world to gain insight into new ways of cooking and living. I am now privileged to have the world in my kitchen. I am already both learning from my team and creating wonderful things with them.”
A native of San Sebastian, Spain, Pedro spent his formative years in a community where chefs are as revered as doctors and engineers. Although he exhibited an early fascination with food, he decided to pursue a degree in environmental chemistry to expand the breadth of his interests and build an educational foundation. Despite the prospect of a promising career in science, after graduating, he set off on his childhood dream of exploring the diverse cultures and flavours of the world.
Counting passport stamps as badges of honour, Pedro has since discovered the colourful spices of India, the meticulous work ethic of Japanese chefs, the complexity of Asian cuisine and the history infused cookery of Europe. His impressive resume includes stints at Martin Berasategui (Spain, 3 Michelin stars), Quique Dacosta (Spain, 3 Michelin stars), Ryugin (Japan, 3 Michelin stars) and Zurriola (Japan, 2 Michelin stars).
Pedro achieved major successes in Spain as executive chef at Paradores de Turismo hotels and resorts, a brand centred on Spanish heritage and history. The role saw Samper dream up feasts fit for a king, and quite literally so, with frequent banquets held for the Spanish royal family. Pedro then continued his international forays, thriving in leadership roles across Malaysia, Hong Kong and The Maldives.
The chef’s strongest assets are his depth and profound understanding of cooking. His philosophy on cuisine can be broken down into three main pillars: seasonality, legacy and mastery.
While seasonality is far from a new focus in the culinary world, Pedro places increased emphasis on it, chasing every season to extract the freshest and most pronounced flavour possible. From picking winter mushroom, to spending days exploring the best way to utilise summer peaches, he most appreciates dishes that taste like the time of year.
A historian by hobby, Samper respects the legacy of each culture’s cuisine. For instance, when cooking a Basque-style cod dish, he meditates on his ancestors conquering the seas as the world’s best fishers in the 1500s. When experimenting with Indian cuisine, he cannot help but bring to mind how the spice trade changed the world’s landscape and the significance it had on Indian culture. Digging deeply into the root of every dish and technique grants a sense of importance to the task at hand, and inevitably results in a better creation.
Samper’s last pillar, mastery, involves a continuous practice of the trade from as many perspectives as possible. Every technique learned from a different part of the world is an addition to a chef’s toolkit, which is why continuous learning is something Pedro demands of himself and his team. The chef’s quest for knowledge extends past the culinary world, with his grasp of chemistry granting him a molecular understanding of food, and his love for photography translating into artful plating, as can be seen on his Instagram feed @chefpedrosamper.
Having seamlessly acclimated into his new role with Four Seasons, Pedro has begun instilling his values into his star-studded team, elevating the culinary offering at some of the city’s most impressive restaurants.
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