Interview: Executive Chef Benjamin Hötter on Joining Andaz Xintiandi

By Cristina Ng, December 13, 2018

0 0

It’s difficult to speak with Chef Benjamin Hötter without getting caught up in his enthusiasm, and these days, he has a lot to be excited about. In December, the Dusseldorf native will take on a promotion from Executive Sous Chef at Hyatt on the Bund to Executive Chef at the Andaz Xintiandi Shanghai. We sat down to discuss his professional journey and take a peek into the future of the Andaz culinary program.

When did you begin cooking?
Well, I began in hospitality after finishing school at age 16. In Germany, we have a dual system where you work and study at the same time, and I trained at a hotel specialist program. Cooking was part of the course, and I loved it. I went on to work in Cologne, which has a famous culinary community, before returning home to work at InterContinental Königsallee. Afterwards, I took a job at Hyatt Regency Cologne and I eventually transferred to Dubai.

How has living in Dubai and China influenced you as a chef?
You need to be much more flexible in an international market. Most importantly, you need to be a good manager to employees from different cultures unaccustomed to a German style of management. In Germany, we have no plan B or plan C. You go with plan A, and make it happen. As for my food, the backbone is French, but I love German food, too. I like to show people that food from my country is more than just pork knuckles and sausages.

Image courtesy Andaz Xintiandi Shanghai

What Dusseldorf specialties have you served in Shanghai?
My beef roulade was extremely popular at VUE Restaurant. I wanted to share the story of my grandmother’s recipe, and people went crazy for it. I took more family recipes and fine-tuned them for fine dining, such as sour braised beef and cod with mustard.

Which of the Andaz dining venues will see the most change?
To be honest, I would say all. I need to take some time to investigate, but the goal is to build on the existing quality while creating a sense of culinary adventure. One way to accomplish this is by letting the guests see us at work.

"We seek the elevation of familiar flavors by using secret recipes and premium ingredients."

Why should non in-house guests dine at the Andaz?
I will be the first non-Chinese Executive Chef at Andaz Xintiandi Shanghai, so this is a good opportunity to attract new customers. In fact, this should be easy if the Andaz concept is executed properly. We seek the elevation of familiar flavors by using secret recipes and premium ingredients. Think transformed barbecue skewers or pork mooncakes.

Any other exciting news for the hotel?
We will open a new rum bar named Sugarcane, and I will create the food menu for this concept. We are working on the Japanese restaurant as well, and changing the menus in the Lobby Lounge to include some famous local dishes plus international food options to serve the needs of everyone. Hotels need to provide lots of cuisine choices for everyone, but they must all be authentic. That’s why hotels are so exciting, and why I want to work at the Andaz.

Is this your first time working at an Andaz?
Yes, I’ve worked at almost every other Hyatt concept, but I think I’m a good fit the brand. Andaz has great service but we are more casual – guests are a part of the family the minute they enter the hotel. As a guest, I prefer this kind of hotel.

[Cover photo courtesy Andaz Xintiandi Shanghai]

See listing for Andaz Xintiandi Shanghai here.

more news

Sexy Chef Koen Vessies' Last Words Before Leaving Shanghai

Shanghai legend Koen Vessies is saying sayonara to Shanghai after 11 years; check out what's next for this sexy chef.

Chef Ling of Stone Sal, Meatopia on Swanky New 18-Seat Spot HIK9

Zhengu Ling of Stone Sal and Meatopia recently opened a fine dining test kitchen of sorts called HIK9 with a set menu for RMB3,280.

DeAille Tam of Shanghai's Obscura Named Female Chef of 2021

The executive chef, DeAille Tam, of one of Shanghai's top restaurants, Obscura, is named Asia's Best Female Chef of 2021.

Release Your Inner Chef This Christmas With CooKit's Azul Dinner

Wow your loved one's with CooKit's Limited Edition Christmas Special Kit partnering with Azul.

Alimentari Expands Its Empire Northwards with Alimentari Grill

The latest installment of the Alimentari brand, Alimentari Grill, threw open its doors in late summer as the first major opening in the now always renao Shankang Li Complex.

Interview: Franklin Yao ​of Z-Rou Meat Talks Plant-Based Pork

​There's a new plant-based brand on the market called Z-Rou Meat 株肉, a pork alternative that consists of 100% plant-based ingredients.

Interview: Chef Julian Serrano Reflects on LAGO's First Year in Shanghai

We caught up with Serrano on a recent visit to his Shanghai restaurant to see how LAGO has evolved after a year of operations.

Interview: Kaixin Cooking's Shiyin Wang on Farm-To-Table Eating

Shanghai's most passionate cooking instructor dishes on his healthy approach to Chinese food.

0 User Comments

In Case You Missed It…

We're on WeChat!

Scan our QR Code at right or follow us at Thats_Shanghai for events, guides, giveaways and much more!

7 Days in Shanghai With

Weekly updates to your email inbox every Wednesday


Download previous issues

Never miss an issue of That's Shanghai!

Visit the archives