Presenting Gastronomical Greatness!

by BTM

Mon, 03 July 2023

Executive Chef Picco Alapatt

The Gulf Hotel Bahrain is one of the Kingdom’s most prominent hospitality destinations. With a total of 17 outlets on its premises, an experienced hand is needed at the helm to ensure the operation runs buttery-smooth. Luckily, the hotel’s new Executive Chef, Picco Alapatt, is the perfect man for the job, and Bahrain This Month sat down with him to find out why.

With 23 years of experience in the culinary industry, Chef Picco’s influences are spread across the continents. Originally from Kerala, India, a degree in Hotel Management and Catering Science and a Master’s in Business Administration was the gateway to a journey which included Dubai, Kenya, and Saint Kitts and Nevis in the Caribbean.

Now, he’s back in the Kingdom for a third stint after previous tenures at the Ritz-Carlton, Bahrain and the Royal Golf Club. Fresh off the back of winning ‘MENA Executive Chef of the Year,’ his latest position is his greatest challenge yet.

“From my previous posting in Dubai, I knew some of the management team in Bahrain and what their beliefs are,” he explains. “I firmly stand by the philosophy of ‘don’t choose the location, choose the team,’ and so when the opportunity came to join them in Bahrain, it was an easy decision.

“I need a place where I wake up happy to go to work, and I have that here. Bahrain is a beautiful place and the hotel itself is a monster! There’s a lot of things happening; when it comes to food and beverage operations, I don’t think there’s many hotels in the region which can do what we do with the number of outlets we have.

“Not only that, but 10 of them are award-winning in their own right and have their own native head chefs handling the restaurant, which is extremely rare but also ensures I get the best possible feedback.”

Chef Picco prefers a hands-on style of management, hosting daily meetings with his team and can be regularly seen front-of-house, engaging with staff and customers alike to carefully curate menus together.

One of his key initiatives is to give new introductions to the menu at least six months, with a belief that certain options and concepts take time to spread by word of mouth, or be tweaked and upgraded as need be rather than pulled too quickly if it isn’t selling.

As for his culinary philosophy, Chef Picco sums it up succinctly. “I truly believe that good food brings peace and ultimate happiness,” he argues. “I always like a simple approach to food, when it comes to cooking and getting my ingredients together. There is always room for creativity, but I still believe in presenting something people can connect to.
“The creativity comes more with the presentation. With the current social media generation, people eat with their eyes first! It’s rare now to see a guest actually eat their food when their food is put down in front of them without taking a picture first. 

“Ultimately, I am excited to put together my simple yet creative approach to food, offering our guests a good excuse to mingle at the table and relish a unique dining experience,” he concludes.