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Tarek Abdel Aziz is a Sous Chef and Manager of Garde at the Conrad Cairo Hotel in Egypt.

He has been a member of the Conrad Cairo team for over 13 years and has 25 years experience in the culinary trade. In true Egyptian tradition, Tarek’s culinary inspiration started with his appreciation for his mother and her insurmountable talent in the kitchen. His favorite dishes to indulge in are Oriental, particularly an appetizer called Bessara, made from pureed fava beans and herbs. In the kitchen, Tarek believes it’s all about vinegar and garlic, two things which can make or break a dish depending on accuracy and palate sensitivity. Salads and starters are where Tarek realizes his creativity and passion believing that these are the most important moments which introduce the main course. Tarek praises the level of team work that goes into each day in his restaurant and recognizes the exposure to various chefs from around the world that are brought into Hilton Hotels.
      Once, in a previous place we were having a huge party with 2000 pax for dinner, after we ended by making the 1st 500 plates, the trolley carrying 100 plates was on the floor !!!! And we started to do these 100 plates from the scratch once again in No time  it was really challenging for us. Team work, Team Work, Team Work! We are working like one family; we care about each other, also easy access to trainings and knowledge from various chefs that joined Conrad from all over the world. It’s all about vinegar and Garlic, these 2 things can make your platter great and delicious and can take you to a disaster and ruin your things! Because you must be very accurate and sensitive while using them. Starters are my Passion, in other words I love everything related to salads, I’ve chosen this section in the kitchen because I feel creativity and passion while preparing any appetizer, also I can see it’s very essential and important to be well presented and delicious as it will introduce you to the main course. I love oriental food, it’s simple, tasty and clear, also its ingredients are applicable and east to get, and bear in mind they are affordable and not expensive (laughing). My favorite dish is an oriental platter called (BESSARA):this platter started to vanish as it’s one of our Egyptian cultures as our grandmothers use to make in our childhood it’s about beans sealed with some herbed boiled and presented puree ,you can also present it with roasted bread.

Said Kandil is a Sous Chef at the Oak Grill in the Conrad Cairo Hotel. Said has been a member of the Conrad team since 1998 and has almost 30 years of culinary experience. He spent ten years working in a number of restaurants all over Italy before returning to his native Egypt in 1996. His inspiration began after being introduced to a chef while traveling with a friend in Italy. This chef became his mentor, taking him to different places around Italy and teaching him about the different dishes of each region. Seafood is both his favorite item to prepare and to enjoy himself, particularly sea bass and sea brume. Said believes the most important ingredients in a dish are salt, pepper, onion and garlic but when it comes to preparing seafood dishes, tarragon is absolutely essential. Although not his specialty, Said enjoys making desserts such as tiramisu and panna cotta. Said loves the freedom for creativity to develop his trade and the accessibility to the best facilities which Hilton Hotels has offered him over the years.

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Seafood it gives me space for a lot of creation, because it has many types. My best types are sea bass and sea brume Although Desserts are far away from my professionalism, I love doing it like panna cotta, tiramisu and apple tart. For the tools: My food tong, knife and mandolin. But for the ingredients there’s a lot of important stuff you cannot dismiss in any platter like salt and pepper, onion or garlic and last but not least tarragon as my favorite herb for seafood. Team work and space for creativity and to develop ourselves, also one good point we cannot dismiss is that all facilities are available and provided for us. Once, I was working for a quite several and continuous hours, and when my shift ends and it’s time to take off my uniform, you won’t believe what I’ve done! (Smiling) I found myself putting on my uniform again instead from my regular clothes, this time I realize I need to sleep Travelling, one of my friends introduced me to an Italian chef in Italy to work with him he was my Idol, as we spent a season in the mountain and the other season in the Sea, it really encouraged me and inspired me.