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Four Seasons Hotel Kuwait at Burj Alshaya

  • Al Soor Street, Al Mirqab, PO Box 735, Safat, 13008, Kuwait
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Daniele Bartolo Polito

Chef de Cuisine, Dai Forni
“I can tell when people grasp the difference between authentic Italian and what some restaurants serve to please their clientele. They look at me like, ‘Wow.’”

 

Four Seasons Tenure:

  • Originally 2010, now since 2017
  • First Four Seasons Assignment: Chef de Partie, Four Seasons Hotel Milano

Employment History

  • The Beaumont Hotel, London; The Savoy, London; Maurizio’s, Morgan Hill, California; Four Seasons Hotel Milano; Arquade, Verona, Italy; Quattro Mori, Varese, Italy; Locanda San Michele, Corciano, Italy; Golf Club Perugia Restaurant, Perugia, Italy; Osteria dell’ Olmo, Perugia

Birthplace

  • Perugia, Italy

Education

  • IPSARR, Assisi, Italy; Alma Accademia della Cucina Italiana, Colorno, Italy

Languages

  • Italian, English, basic French

After years of bouncing between countries and kitchens, Daniele Bartolo Polito was looking for a new challenge. That’s when he received an email from the opening Executive Chef of Four Seasons first venture in Kuwait. “We’d worked together at Four Seasons Hotel Milano. He asked about my plans for the future.” When Polito relayed what he had in mind, the Chef answered right back: “Have I got a challenge for you.”   

As Chef de Cuisine of Dai Forni (“from the ovens”) at Four Seasons Hotel Kuwait at Burj Alshaya, Polito got what he was after. “My main challenge here is being in charge of such a big and important restaurant,” he explains of his role leading the Hotel’s Italian dining experience, which occupies space on the rooftop adjacent to the pan-Asian restaurant Sintoho. “I’m importing the culture of my country, my region, to Kuwait. I can tell when people grasp the difference between authentic Italian and what other restaurants serve to please their clientele. They look at me like, ‘wow.’”

That “wow” can be seen in the back of the house as well as at the table. “When I’m explaining to my cooks how we make our dry durum wheat pasta from scratch, I get a flashback of cooking with my mother and grandparents.” Of course, Polito’s elders didn’t have the equipment found in the kitchen at Dai Forni: copper wood ovens fired with imported Italian timber for focaccia, Neapolitan pizza and whole fish; top-of-the-line pasta makers/ravioli shapers from La Monferrina and Bottene; and a meat slicer that shaves house-made charcuterie into whisper-thin antipasti.

“To be honest, the machinery we have is the best of the best,” he says. “It really makes you feel competent and proud of the company you’re working for.”

Born and raised in Perugia in the Umbria region of central Italy, Polito experienced a bit of resistance when he announced to his parents that he wanted to be a chef. “My mother was unsure, but I told her it’s this or nothing. So we made a deal that I would study for five years to get a degree.” When Polito tried to quit school early to start work, his mother, a teacher, insisted he stick with it. “I always did thank her for that.”

Polito’s route to Kuwait took him through several restaurants, starting in his hometown and other cities in the north of Italy such as Varese and Verona where he worked at Michelin-starred restaurants. He studied at ALMA in Colorno, where Master Chef Gualtiero Marchesi, considered the founder of modern Italian cuisine, is the rector; opened a small restaurant of his own; and then joined Four Seasons in Milan.

A year later, in 2011, Polito moved on again, crossing the Atlantic to re-launch a restaurant in Silicon Valley. The experience proved illuminating: “I started to get the idea that basically a lot of people expect Italian cuisine to be pizza and pasta with no concern for authenticity.” After six months, he took his talents to London where he worked first at a landmark hotel along the Thames, and next at another in Mayfair. Then came the fateful email from the Chef in Kuwait. “The deeper we got into details, the more excited I became.”

The sleek design and vibrant hues of Four Seasons Hotel Kuwait have been inspiring to Polito and his clientele. Just seeing this place heightens expectations of the food on the plate, he says, describing his modern spin on traditional Italian cuisine as “fine-dining even though it’s comfort food. Mama’s flavors with modern presentations, perfect for sharing, which people love to do in this part of the world.”

Meantime, Polito is delighted to be back with Four Seasons – a status that comes with its own set of challenges. “It feels more like a family than a company,” he says, “so the challenge for me is the pressure of the product. I know I need to deliver.”