Four Seasons Resort Sharm El Sheikh, Egypt
- 1 Four Seasons Boulevard, P.O. Box 203, Sharm El Sheikh, South Sinai, Egypt
Four Seasons Tenure
- Since 1995
- First Four Seasons Assignment: Chef de Partie, Four Seasons Hotel Milano
- Four Seasons Hotel Kuwait at Burj Alshaya; Four Seasons Hotel Istanbul at the Bosphorus; Four Seasons Hotel Milano; Four Seasons Hotel London at Canary Wharf (formerly a Four Seasons hotel); Four Seasons Hotel Cairo at The First Residence; Four Seasons Hotel Milano; Hotel Du Lac et Du Parc, Riva del Garda, Italy; Hotel Leonardo da Vinci, Milan, Italy
- Istituto Professionale Alberghiero di Stato di Siracusa
- Noto, Sicily, Italy
- Italian, English and French
Sebastiano Spriveri knew exactly the challenges and rewards that awaited him upon his arrival as Executive Chef at Four Seasons Resort Sharm El Sheikh. He also knew it was right where he wanted to be. With the sprawling address along the Red Sea shores in the midst of a property-wide expansion, he was selected to oversee the openings of five new restaurants and private dining spaces, as well as to build culinary talent to ensure that every dining experience onsite leaves guests desirous for more.
“It’s one thing to open a restaurant, but even more challenging to run outlets already in operation while getting new ones off the ground,” Spriveri recalls of the swift months that followed his arrival in summer 2021. What ultimately drew him was that “There is so much opportunity for creativity and improvisation here, I was eager to dive in.”
The scope of the food and beverage offerings overseen by Spriveri is extensive, to say the least. Established dining experiences include the regional specialties of Arabesque, laid-back lunches and dinners under the palms at Reef Grill, and authentic Italian near-and-dear to the Chef’s heart served under the stars at Il Frantoio. The expansion will add new concepts ranging from Lebanese to pan-Asian, Latin American to toes-in-the-sand barbeque located steps and strokes from the Resort’s private coral reef.
The culinary operation behind all of the above is quite sizable, with a team of 130 under Spriveri’s direction, all “looking for support and hungry to learn.” With deep experience earned over two-plus decades with Four Seasons, Spriveri provides both, though he is quick to note that, “even those who are still learning and working their way up are always adding something unique and special to the guest experience.”
To that end, Spriveri’s management style is all about understanding what the operation is about and providing his team with the tools they need to excel. “Things may take time, especially with new outlets, but when everyone contributes it’s a recipe for success.”
Born and raised amid the Mediterranean Sea in Sicily, Spriveri was inspired to the kitchen by his mother, but also grew up enthralled with Sicilian culture and cuisine, the latter with its share of Arab influences. He has kept his passion for both on a high flame throughout his career, with special promotions devised at Four Seasons properties in the Middle East to celebrate his roots, including one in which he teamed with a childhood friend turned chef to share dishes and memories with guests.
Spriveri left Sicily as a teenager to take seasonal jobs on the mainland. His dream all along, he says, was to some day join Four Seasons. He finally got his chance at 26, joining the team at the company’s temple of Italian cuisine (and more) in Milan, where he trained with legendary Executive Chef Sergio Mei.
After five years in Milan, Spriveri moved on to become first Executive Sous Chef on the pre-opening team at Four Seasons Hotel Cairo at The First Residence, then Executive Chef at the company’s former Canary Wharf address in London. In 2006, he took a title cut to Executive Sous Chef to return for another go with Mei in Milan, a sacrifice he recalls was well worth it: “It’s rare to be so connected to someone in the kitchen. Sergio and I didn’t even have to speak to operate in rhythm.”
Spriveri made two more stops at Four Seasons en route to Sharm El Sheikh, arriving in Istanbul at the Bosphorus in 2013 for a four-year run that he remembers as “a great team-building experience,” and in Kuwait in 2016 where as opening Executive Chef he launched the signature Italian dining experience Dai Forni and the Japanese restaurant Sintoho on the Hotel’s top floor, as well as Riviera, the first stand-alone restaurant under the Four Seasons umbrella, at The Avenues Mall.
And now, how is he enjoying his time at Sharm El Sheikh? “Well, between the restaurants and the team, I’m always going to be busy with the operations here,” he says with a satisfied laugh, adding, “I aspire to leave guests with special memories, and let them know they’re part of our family.” Meanwhile, with a small garden to tend on his own and Red Sea views from his chalet, Spriveri’s latest turn in the Middle East is off to a great start. “I’ve done my share of snorkelling and plan to learn to scuba. I grew up surrounded by water in Sicily, so this feels very much like home to me.”