Four Seasons Resort Koh Samui Appoints Ruslan Shipunov as Executive Chef
“From the very beginning, I found what I wanted from life – to cook,” shares Ruslan Shipunov, who has been promoted to Executive Chef at Four Seasons Resort Koh Samui. Twenty years of passion to prepare dishes that instantly put a smile on people’s faces has catapulted Ruslan’s career – a decade since his first association as Restaurant Chef In-Charge at the former Four Seasons in St. Petersburg.
Known for his commitment and courage, many well-wishers of Ruslan admire him for the way he has achieved what he had planned. “I love fusing ingredients together, smelling the scent of fresh food, preparing it with devotion, and finally watching people savour every spoon,” he says with enthusiasm.
Ruslan entered a professional kitchen for the first time as a 17-year-old intern. The much-talked-about Russian cuisine that he had earlier read about in books came alive as he immediately lay his hands on suckling pigs, roasted geese and beluga caviar. “The day I was assigned to butchery was unforgettable, he recounts, “I de-boned around 500 chickens and prepared the Chicken Kiev cutlet!” The travails of the internship didn’t go vain as he served for three years at Hotel Uralski Dvor, Russia soon after. “From the very beginning, I found what I wanted from life - to cook,” he smiles.
For the next decade of his professional life, Ruslan mastered his skills in Russian gastronomy, whipping up delicacies at Hyatt Regency Ekaterinburg, MiX by Alain Ducasse at W Hotel St. Petersburg, and more. The pre-opening of the former Four Seasons Hotel Lion Palace in St. Petersburg came calling, where he applied all his learnings to co-create world-class cuisine concepts. “I knew then that I will be a long-term Four Seasons chef,” he reminisces, even as he decided to step outside his comfort zone to gain international exposure at IDAM by Alain Ducasse for a brief seven months, before returning to Four Seasons Resort Dubai at Jumeirah Beach for five years.
Ruslan’s strength lies in learning about demanding palates and intricate techniques specific to the region. It is no surprise that he excelled in creating new recipes and designing wholesome menus during his recent stint as Executive Sous Chef atFour Seasons Hotel Bangkok at Chao Phraya River. “I am always hungry to learn and that has helped me create a fare that is soaked in local culture, even if I am an outlier,” he says. That apart, Ruslan’s attention to detail makes him a great organiser at work.
Quality control and hygiene are paramount for any master chef and this all-rounder has a bigger fish to fry as he takes over as the Executive Chef. “My dream is to best utilise the waste and create a zero waste environment,” he shares. Four Seasons Koh Samui boasts of a kitchen that adopts a sustainable approach with menus dished out from scratch. “I’m looking forward to working with the gardeners to see what we can do together,” he smiles.
If he’s not putting his culinary skills to use, Ruslan is busy swimming or motorcycling. He believes that confronting fear head-on gives power. And that’s exactly why he wants to try his hand at skydiving. Well, will there be pie in the sky?
Four Seasons Resort Koh Samui, Thailand