Honing The Culinary Arts At Alila Jabal Akhdar Rick Gonzalez Helms As Head Chef In The Mountain
22 August 2014
Alila Hotels & Resorts announces the new appointment of Rick Gonzalez as Alila Jabal Akhdar’s very first Head Chef leading the kitchen in raising the culinary offerings to new heights. Perched at 2,000m, on the Al Hajar mountain range of Jabal Akhdar, the 3-month old luxury resort not only boasts gorgeous vistas but now offers guests many palate pleasing dishes.
Sharing the same ideals and work ethics of promoting community development and sustainable tourism, Rick is passionate about incorporating the use of locally harvested produce to his menu: “Like Alila Hotels & Resorts, I have a high respect for the Omani culture and I like to ensure that our guests experience everything this stunning area has to offer.”
Prior to joining Alila Jabal Akhdar, Rick held the position of Executive Chef at Amandari in Ubud, Bali and also worked with the team at Sana Sini restaurant at the Pullman Hotel in Jakarta. In pursuit of perfecting his culinary skills, Rick's career enabled him to work as the Pre-opening Chef in the Amanzo’e Resort, Porto Heli in Greece, part of the international luxury hotel company Aman Resorts. Prior to Greece, Rick was the Chef de Cuisine at Sirocco Restaurant in Lebua Hotel at State Tower in Bangkok, Thailand where his responsibilities included overall culinary operation and managing the kitchen staff of 20 and 7 stewards.
Throughout Rick’s career he learned to respect and appreciate the ‘farm to table’ concept of featuring the seasonal products of local farmers, fishermen and bee keepers which ties in well with the current practices at Alila Jabal Akhdar.
“We look forward to incorporating Rick’s innovative ideas into our menu and further encouraging the use of local produce from the neighbouring communities. We have come a long way since the opening in May and look forward to expanding the Alila Jabal Akhdar family with likeminded and spirited professionals,” commented Jork Bosselaar, General Manager of Alila Jabal Akhdar.
Rick’s involvement in the culinary arts stems from his early childhood where he was introduced to the rich culture of food by his Spanish father and Cuban-born mother. “Food was always an important part of our daily life. Having simple, but fresh and well prepared dishes is something that I can clearly remember from an early age,” commented Rick.
Rick’s father owned a butcher shop which was then expanded to a supermarket and restaurant where Rick assisted during summer breaks. Being exposed to cooking at a young age allowed for an easy transition to Rick’s enrolment in an intensive program at Le Bouveret (Ecole Cesar Ritz) in Switzerland.