One of the most renowned Czech chefs, Zdeněk Křížek joined OREA Hotels & Resorts on 1 December 2017 as Executive Culinary Chef for the entire chain.
Zdeněk’s passion for cooking began in childhood, so it was no surprise when he decided to enter hotel school to develop his culinary gift. Aiming to start his career at a high standard, Zdeněk had his first professional experience in the four-star Jalta Hotel on Wenceslas Square. “For me, a rookie with only the basic skills from school, suddenly all these unknown culinary directions opened up,” he recalls. He encountered Asian cuisines for the first time and fell in love with Japanese cooking, especially teppanyaki, where food is cooked on a special griddle right on the guests’ table.
After four years, he moved to the Boscolo Hotel on Senovážné náměstí, where he advanced to the position of shift chief and honed his Italian cooking skills. When the new Mandarin Oriental Hotel in Prague opened in 2006, Zdeněk had a non-traditional job interview where he was tasked with cooking as the management watched. That he spent the next 11 years at the hotel in Malá Strana shows how well he succeeded. In 2016 he was named head chef in the Spices restaurant/bar, a rich experience that gave him the opportunity to perfect his knowledge of Asian cuisines for a very demanding clientele. He also learned from foreign travels, first to England, later China, Malaysia, Thailand and Japan, where this great lover of sushi was enchanted by the fish markets and the system of shipping the finest seafood around the globe.
On 1 December 2017, Zdeněk took his career to a new level when he joined the largest Czech hotel chain. “I see great potential at OREA Hotels & Resorts. At the Pyramida Hotel, for instance, which will undergo reconstruction next year, the interior spaces are great. We can use these to open a Czech-French fusion-style bistro with an open kitchen for hotel guests and the public. In the regions, we want to focus on old Czech recipes from that particular region, so each hotel will have its own authentic menu,” Zdeněk Křížek says of his new concept for the OREA chain.
Not only will Zdeněk manage the head chefs at 11 hotels, he’ll be lending a hand in the kitchen too. He sees technology helping create a new look for everything from breakfast to coffee breaks to new signature dishes for the hotels in the regions. Going forward, he hopes to educate the public and show what can be accomplished with the proper use of quality ingredients and the combined skills of individual kitchens and prove that Czech cuisine can compete with renowned international styles.