Joergen Sodemann, Executive Chef at The Ritz-Carlton, Bahrain, talks about his vision for the culinary offerings at the property, what inspires his cooking and a secret ingredient!

You’ve worked at various regional and international RitzCarlton properties. What about the brand stands out for you?
I firmly believe in the brand’s strong team culture. As a Ritz-Carlton gentleman, I pride myself on cultivating a supportive and collaborative team environment. Our culture emphasises mutual respect, teamwork and a strong commitment to our core values which are legendary, gracious and inspiring.
I joined The Ritz-Carlton, where I was given the opportunity to provide personalised service to our guests, creating memorable experiences and making a positive impact on their lives. In addition, being associated with such a prestigious brand is a source of pride and offers a sense of belonging to anyone aspiring to be part of the dynamic hospitality industry.

Please share your vision for the culinary offerings at The Ritz-Carlton, Bahrain. How do you plan on achieving it in the coming months?
Culinary and food and beverage always go hand in hand and I am lucky that I joined at the same time as the director of the service team. Together, with our expertise, we will refresh, enhance and elevate the dining experiences of our guests through all our outlets and banqueting facilities. This will involve focusing on the quality of ingredients, proper presentation and unique flavour profiles to make sure that each dish tells a story and reflects the local culture and culinary traditions.
We are currently working on a strategy that is tailored to The Ritz-Carlton’s unique brand identity, target market and local surroundings. A big part of this will be creating collaborative menus and special events to enhance the culinary offerings and provide guests with unforgettable gastronomic experiences.

You have been extensively involved with hotel openings. What major learnings will you bring to your new role?
Opening a new hotel requires developing comprehensive standard operating procedures for the culinary department. This includes menu planning, kitchen organisation, staffing protocols, quality control measures and safety guidelines. Sharing the experience with my team here at The Ritz-Carlton, Bahrain allows me to ensure seamless organisation and smooth operations. Maintaining quality and consistency is also one of the few things that I want to impart to my team. It is also worth noting that seeking feedback from guests and other team members is very important, and refining our culinary operations to ensure ongoing success.

How did you come up with your signature dish. Which restaurant will it be served at?
Like any other chef around the world, I draw inspiration from my heritage and family recipes. The Cheesecake Next Level is an adaptation of my grandma’s recipe which personally evokes nostalgic and comforting childhood memories. To make the dish unique and stand out as a signature creation, I have added a secret ingredient that a lot of people find very surprising to know. It also involves incorporating unexpected flavours or textures to enhance the overall presentation and taste. This delectable dessert is now available every Friday at our Mystical Brunch at La Med, and soon-to-launch at The Ritz Gourmet Lounge. ✤