DiningValuable life lessons a culinary career has taught me

Tamara Seebacher, Sous Chef at Jumeirah Frankfurt, gives advice to budding chefs looking to explore a culinary career

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Nothing beats the thrill of attempting a new recipe; the joy of exploring unknown ingredients and triumphing with exquisite flavour combinations. For many, the past year has provided a wonderful opportunity to hone your skills in the kitchen, and in doing so, this may have begun piquing an interest in pursuing the culinary career you’ve always dreamed of. Jumeirah Frankfurt’s distinguished sous chef, Tamara Seebacher, currently leads a team of 5 dedicated trainees with a strong focus on creativity and memorable dining experiences. Here, she sheds light on the valuable life lessons her culinary career has taught her to inspire a new generation of budding chefs around the world.

 

How did you first discover your passion for food?

Cooking has always been an integral part of my life. Having grown up with great chefs around me, I made my first steps in the culinary industry from an early age. I am grateful that I was able to experience this industry from various facets; casual dining to fine dining, comfort food to experiential fusions. The golden thread guiding me through this industry has been my love for the product itself. The farm to table concept has been an integral part of my cooking philosophy. I started growing my own vegetables and fruits and was fascinated by the impact the quality of your ingredients can have on your final dish.

Nowadays, customers often don’t have the time to explore the amazing products we have out here, as a chef you can take guests on a journey to explore and understand the importance of the products we use. I always believe as a chef you need to master the basics of cooking first, understand your product and be critical about the quality, and then set your creativity free to express yourself with new fusions and creations. After all cooking is meant to be a journey.

 

Do you think more work needs to be done to inspire more female chefs in the industry?

Only four out of the world’s 50 best restaurants are run by women. The perception that world-class restaurants can only be run by male chefs is very outdated in my opinion. I know many women that are highly motivated to pursue a career as a chef. Cooking is about creativity and expressing your passion for products and dining, not your gender. We should highlight the opportunities this career path offers – regardless of your gender.

 

What advice would you offer budding female chefs interested in pursuing a professional career in cooking?

Make working in a male-dominated industry your biggest motivational driver to perform the best you can. It’s not a limitation but a motivation.

 

You’re currently leading a team of 5 trainees at Jumeirah Frankfurt; how do you inspire them to pursue a career in the F&B sector?

For me, it is important that my team understands the following two points:

Firstly, that cooking and working as a chef mean much more than just preparing food that is served to guests. It gives you the possibility to create an experience. Culinary concepts always incorporate a sense of hospitality. Creating that special meal for your guest, seeing them in the restaurant, stepping out of your kitchen and interacting with them. It is so important to understand all the factors that have an effect on how your dish is seen by the guest, especially the overall experience and the ambience of the restaurant. You need to understand the full picture to make a restaurant visit a lasting memory.

Secondly, keep learning. As much as cooking is driven by passion and creativity, it is always evolving. Keep up with what’s happening in the industry and take the opportunity to work with the best talent in the industry.

Kitchen at Jumeirah Frankfurt

 

What has been the greatest milestone moment in your career?

It has always been important to challenge myself and to grow. Not only in terms of skills, but also mentally and by the physically demanding work routine I have as a chef.
As a woman, I felt very proud to become a Sous Chef, a role mostly held by male colleagues. I feel honoured to be a part of a group that is responsible for representing culinary talent. This is a really important stepping stone for me.

 

You joined Jumeirah Frankfurt in 2013. How did Jumeirah support your career development?

Jumeirah has been a great support for my career and personal development. I enjoyed cross-trainings with chefs from other Jumeirah hotels from all over the world who have visited us here in Frankfurt. For me, it’s important for chefs to understand that no one is brilliant when they first start their culinary career. It’s important to learn from the best in the industry, improve your skills, and get exposed to authentic flavours by chefs who have worked hard to perfect their skills.

 

What lessons did your superiors teach you during your time at Jumeirah Frankfurt?

I learned that a kitchen ruled by stereotypes is really outdated. I had great superiors who taught me that working as a chef means to work with full devotion to the profession. They also taught me that this devotion and passion is achieved by inspiring others and encouraging every person in your team to express their full creative potential, despite all of the stereotypes of your typical kitchen work environment.

Beacon Dessert at Jumeirah Frankfurt

 

What advice would you give young chefs to prepare them for their career?

Think outside the box - the culinary industry is changing, learn as much as you can while doing your job and never stop exploring.

Working as a chef means much more than just knowing recipes or how to properly cut Julienne. You need to understand the different parts of your customer journey, analyse the ambience of the restaurant and the service provided by the waiters, and provide the guests with an experience, not just a meal.

No matter how much the culinary sector changes in the future, I believe that experience will never go out of fashion. Experience and creativity are what keeps our industry growing.

What has been your fondest memory since joining Jumeirah Frankfurt?

We’ve had several kitchen parties at Jumeirah Frankfurt, which are events where we redecorate the restaurant with several food stations to encourage a closer interaction with our diners. We invite famous guest chefs to join us in the restaurant for this event, which means that we learn a lot and present ourselves as a unified chefs’ community. It brings so much passion for food and hospitality to one place and we enjoy really getting to know our guests, telling them the stories behind our dishes and sharing our love for food.

 

Since embarking on your culinary career, which valuable lessons have you learnt along the way?

  • Keep learning – show initiative to learn from the industry’s best
  • Accept challenges and grow with them - the last months have proven how quickly the status quo can change
  • Try to work as customer-focused as possible - provide a culinary journey, not just a meal

 

To spark ideas for wonderful home-cooking, we’re creating a wealth of delicious recipes for you to enjoy at home. Share your creations with us at #StaySafeWithJumeirah.