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Four Seasons Hotel Lion Palace St. Petersburg

  • 1 Voznesensky Prospekt, 190000 St. Petersburg, Russia
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Andrea Accordi

Executive Chef

“Every country cooks the same ingredient differently. To be successful in the kitchen, it’s important to understand this.”

Four Seasons Tenure

  • Since 2007
  • First Four Seasons Assignement: Executive Chef, Four Seasons Hotel Prague

Employment History

  • Four Seasons Hotel Prague; Onice Lounge & Restaurant, Villa La Vedetta, Florence; Hotel Laudinella, St. Moritz, Switzerland; Residence de la Pinede, St. Tropez, France; Le Royal Meridien, Phuket, Thailand; Regent Hotel, Bangkok; Toto’s, Knightsbridge, London; The Regent Palace Hotel London

Birthplace

  • Nogara, Italy

Education

  • Catering School, Istituto Professionale Servizi Alberghieri e della Ristorazione (IPSAR), Bardolino (Italy)

Languages Spoken

  • Italian, English, Thai and basic French

A palm of Italian. A dash of Asian. Maybe a bit more Italian. And some Czech Republic and Russian for good measure. That is what diners have to look forward to – and plenty of it – on the menus at Four Seasons Hotel Lion Palace St. Petersburg. “I always take each of my experiences and use them to influence the food I cook,” says Andrea Accordi, Executive Chef at Four Seasons first Russian address. “And I’ve had some great experiences.”

Accordi’s winding route to the Venice of the North began in his hometown Nogara, Italy, where he helped piece together pies at a local pizzeria to scrape up money to go out on the weekends. Unsure of what to do after finishing secondary school, he enrolled in cooking school at the encouragement of his parents who identified their son’s passion for cooking before he even knew he had one. “My dad pulled some strings and got me a job at a Michelin-starred restaurant. After graduation, I flew straight to England and took a position at the Regent Hotel London.”

After two years he moved to Thailand to the Regent Bangkok and Le Royal Meridein Phuket Yacht Club. Though assigned to the hotel’s Italian fine-dining restaurant, the young chef found time in the mornings to work the Thai kitchen where he learned the techniques, textures and flavours of Asian cuisine. “Thailand was a great experience all around,” he recalls, noting in particular a chance meeting with a lovely gift shop attendant while preparing an Italian food presentation at what is now Four Seasons Hotel Bangkok. “Two people really fueled my passion for cooking in Thailand: my executive chef and my wife, Korrakod.”

After returning to Europe with the intention of improving his culinary skills, Accordi landed as Executive Chef of Four Seasons Hotel Prague. He quickly became a local sensation, renowned for blending Far Eastern flavours such as Chinese anise, Szechuan pepper, cardamom, citronella, licorice, ginger and lemongrass into modern Italian fare. Indeed, Accordi’s signature dish, suckling pig, was all over the map, prepared Italian-style, with Asian influences, or the Czech way with horseradish mash. Whatever – diners were impressed and critics were, too: just eight months into operation, Allegro Restaurant earned a Michelin star, the first-ever awarded in Eastern Europe.

“Learning to cook is a never-ending story, with so many cuisines and cultures to discover,” says Accordi. To that end, upon arriving in St. Petersburg the chef got right to work checking out the burgeoning local dining scene. There is competition springing up all over town, he says, with trendy restaurants offering many different styles of cuisine. “I always believe whatever you’re creating, it’s important to focus on product and to use the ingredients you have authentically.”

So what to look forward to from Accordi in St. Petersburg? Three restaurants all together – one modern Italian, one Asian-fusion, and a tea lounge in the courtyard. He is driven to bring in new dining experiences and to prepare ingredients in new ways to dazzle city residents and international travellers. He is also intent upon leaving his mark by training locals as he was once trained himself. “It will be a long and enthusiastic process. But by setting high standards and training well, we’ll grow together as a team.”

Accordi may even bring his mother to cook with him for special occasions, something he did for a “Mamma Mia” promotion in Prague back in Feburary 2009. “It was very a special occasion with her in the kitchen waving her hands around with a translator,” he recalls with a laugh, noting that though cooking is his passion nearly 24/7, when he goes home to Italy his mother does all the cooking. “I’d love to get her to St. Petersburg sometime, though it might be tough during winter.”

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