A Taste Of Excellence

Chef Brian Becher, Executive Chef at CUT by Wolfgang Puck and re/Asian Cuisine, Four Seasons Hotel Bahrain Bay, also a self-proclaimed sandwich enthusiast, talks about his culinary inspirations and his latest creation that’s catching fire!

You’ve been with the Four Seasons brand for almost a decade and, apart from your current role, you’re also the Regional Executive Chef for Wolfgang Puck. How has your journey been so far and what keeps your excitement going?
It has been an incredible journey, which began as a career opportunity and soon became my home. I have developed the most sincere and supportive personal relationships of my life here in Bahrain, both inside and outside the walls of our hotel. And that leads me to the easy and obvious (to me) answer of what keeps me excited and keeps me going… people! I love the longstanding and rewarding relationships I have developed with our guests here in Bahrain. This place is truly special and has a way of making one feel sincerely welcomed. And I get inspired by the growth and development of the dedicated people on my team. In my current regional role, I am privileged to support our restaurant, Spago, in Riyadh. Some of the chefs cooking there began their careers here at Four Seasons Hotel Bahrain Bay. I find it incredibly rewarding to see them carrying our work culture and culinary ethos into a new market!

You’ve collaborated with various chefs from around the world. Which of these have you enjoyed the most and why?
That’s an incredibly tough choice to make. But I can unequivocally say that the most meaningful collaboration, in which I have had the pleasure to participate, is when Chef Aram Mardigian cooked with me here in Bahrain, earlier this year. Chef Aram mentored and developed me in a crucial time in my career and to have him here in my kitchens, cooking side-by-side with me again was nothing short of emotional and surreal. And for him, to see the techniques and operational practices he taught me being utilised on the opposite side of the world, was quite meaningful.

You’ve probably cooked hundreds of dishes in your career. How do you draw inspiration for your new creations?
I find travelling to be my biggest source of inspiration. Recently, Chef Kiyoshi and I embarked on a self-guided street food tour of Bangkok. We enjoyed some of the most flavourful dumplings, seafood dishes and noodles on the streets of the city. There is a popular Thai raw prawn dish called Kung Chae Nam Pla which we used as a basis to develop our prawn ceviche in re/Asian Cuisine. And recently, I travelled to Amman, Jordan a few times. The mezze I had was absolutely packed with flavour and it inspired the Charcoal Roasted Eggplant dish we serve at CUT.

In the past you’ve joked that your Korean Fried Chicken on the CUT lounge menu has been so popular that you might lose your visa if you didn’t keep it around. Is this still your signature dish or has a new creation taken its place?
It’s interesting that you ask that question. One of my sous chefs, Mikey Limon, and I developed a Bistek Cheesesteak a few months back that is really catching fire in the market. It is a play on traditional Filipino Bistek Tagalog, reimagined as a Philadelphia style sandwich. Chef Mikey and I joke that it’s a ‘Filidelphia’ sandwich. We marinate the meat in Kalamansi citrus and soy, then cook it with garlic and peppers. The beef gets topped with white cheddar cheese and served on our version of a Pandesal roll. It’s a complex and delicious bite with amazing texture. But worry not; the Korean Fried Chicken isn’t going anywhere. ✤