Private Chef to Royalty: Serge Burckel On Cooking for Gulf Royalty in Qatar

Serge Burckel is a Chef with an extremely rich kitchen pedigree which has seen him master his craft with the culinary royalty of French cuisine before going on to win recognition for his own kitchens, on more than one occasion, with both Michelin Stars  and enviably high Gault Millau scores. When I first came to learn of Chef Burckel  it was to see him referred to in the French press as “L’enfant terrible de la gastronomie française, l’Alsacien Serge Burckel,” in a story about a banquet he was putting coordinating, with his friend Jean-Michel Turin, at the Al Wajbah Palace Qatar.

The Burckel"s at their Beautiful New Restaurant in  France

The Burckel”s at their Beautiful New Restaurant in France

I didn’t know what to be more impressed by, Chef Burckel’s position as Head Chef to Royalty or the fact that here’s a guy who’s worked as a chef with Chefs Jacques Lameloise, Eckart Witzigmann, Joël Bruant, Jacques Maximin, Alain Senderens in a career that’s taken him to Japan, USA, France (obviously), Germany, Hong Kong, China, Qatar and Switzerland and who is, in 2014, still being referred to as L’enfant terrible de la gastronomie française. That’s not bad going for a Head Chef whose career began in the early 80’s. How Chef Burckel  succeeds, especially in the overheated world chefs inhabit, in maintaining such a youthful press profile is something I hope to get to with him another time because today’s video is all about his experience as Head Chef to the First Lady of Qatar.

On Being Head Chef to Gulf Royalty

From the perspective of a Chef Recruiter my chat with Chef Burckel offered me the chance to fling several questions in Serge’s direction to satisfy my own curiosity about catering to a Royal household. Some of his answers were surprising, to say the least. Of course I wanted to know how he came to be a Chef to Royalty, through a Chef Jobs Board, direct approach, or via a Specialist Chef Recruitment Agency? You’ll have to watch the video to find out the answer. If you do, watch the video, you’ll discover more about the composition of a kitchen team of chefs in a Gulf royal household, Palace hiring practices with respect to Chefs, the extravagant number of Chefs given trials before Chef Burckel gets the job offer, the dining habits of Royalty, Palace etiquette, salary etc.  Naturally these are all questions a chef recruiter would ask because knowing the answers represents valuable intelligence to us. That said there’s plenty here of interest to any chef considering working in the Gulf region and especially chefs who harbour ambitions to work in one of the royal households. One takeaway is that this is one chef job where the customer really is always right. Enjoy the video and apologies for where the video quality dips, thankfully the audio is fine throughout. If you’d like to learn more about Chef Burckel please do visit his website.