Director of Food and Beverage
Four Seasons Tenure
- First hired 2008; now since 2016
- First Four Seasons Assignment: Beverly Wilshire, A Four Seasons Hotel; Internship, Four Seasons Hotel George V, Paris
- The Ocean Club, A Four Seasons Resort, Bahamas; Four Seasons Resort O’ahu at Ko Olina; Hakkasan Group, London; Four Seasons Hotel London at Park Lane; Four Seasons Resort Bora Bora; Beverly Wilshire, A Four Seasons Hotel; Island Shangri-La, Hong Kong; Four Seasons Hotel George V, Paris
- Nantes, France
- Bachelor’s Degree in Hospitality Administration and Management, Glion Institute of Higher Education, Switzerland
- English, French
“Maintain the quality and push the envelope,” says Sébastien Ganry, summing up his strategy for keeping Four Seasons Hotel Seoul at the top of the city’s growing dining and drinking scenes. As Director of Food & Beverage, Ganry oversees one of the largest food & beverage operations in the company, with nine outlets, each as distinctive and inventive as the next.
His role is about much more than mere food and/or beverage. “It’s about the concepts and the ambiances we present, and what we do to get our customers excited,” he explains, adding, “the more Koreans experience here in Seoul and around the world, the more important it is for us to keep moving things forward.”
Among envelopes Ganry likes to push are creative opportunities for guests to get to know the Hotel’s chefs and mixologists, to appreciate the services of front-of-the-house teams, and to enjoy “great value” for their won. “Great food comes at a price, but we have to give them the right price.”
Ganry arrived at the Hotel at the start of 2019, just in time to guide the transition of a new Japanese restaurant concept, Akira Back. He has plenty else to do keeping other outlets steaming along as well, including the Michelin-starred Cantonese restaurant Yu Yuan; The Market Kitchen, consecutively honoured as “The Best Buffet in Korea”; and the glamorous speakeasy Charles H., named the Best Bar in South Korea according to The World’s Best Bars 2018 list.
Meanwhile, Ganry is focused on polishing the property’s local identity. The dining scene in Seoul used to be dominated by Korean and Italian restaurants. “Not anymore,” he says. “Now the city has everything, with new high-quality chefs and celebrity chefs arriving every year. It’s those restaurants, not the large hotel concepts, that are our competition.”
He is also focused on ingredients. While there are many sources for quality provisions in Seoul, Ganry feels strongly about inviting small producers into partnerships, the better for collaborative arrangements that benefit the property as well as the producers. “They work with us, we work with them. It’s a very cool aspect of the job.”
Born and raised in Nantes along the Loire River in western France, Ganry comes from a family of doctors. “Quite a large family, too.” Though his natural path led him to medical school, his real interests lay elsewhere. “I was always passionate about dining and celebrations. Food is something that brings people together: It’s the common thread of so many occasions.”
After a year of medical school, however, he realized he wanted to travel to meet new people and explore new cultures. What better way to do that than work in hospitality?
While studying the field in Switzerland, Ganry landed an internship at Four Seasons George V, Paris. After an assignment with another hotel company in Hong Kong, he returned to Four Seasons to enjoy a range of opportunities en route to Seoul, including managing the signature Amaranto Restaurant at Four Seasons Hotel London at Park Lane. His last stop before Seoul was The Ocean Club, A Four Seasons Resort, Bahamas.
Now Ganry is right where he wants to be, surrounded by a new culture and working with several Asian cuisines, which he has always enjoyed.
“It’s the quality of the food, and all of the stories, techniques and fascinating preserves that go along with it,” he says. “Asian cuisines actually remind me a lot of French cuisine: They require a precise eye for detail.”