Talkative, enthusiastic and passionate about his job, and with a love for every aspect of Asia, Etienne Truter is the Cape Town-born Executive Chef of the prestigious Park Hyatt Busan in South Korea.

shares his cooking journey

Chef Truter started being trained in European cuisine in Cape Town when he was 19. He was mentored by Elsa van der nest and Graeme Shapiro. Truter says, “It was them … who suggested I go to Asia, since it could be one of the best [things] for my career.”

The chef did not decide to go immediately, however, and first worked on honing his skills in various signature restaurants in Cape Town. When he did decide to take his culinary prowess abroad, he first went, he says, to “Emirates Towers’s Vu’s Restaurant and Café chic at Le Meridien, Dubai, Jing Restaurant Constance Halaveli [in the] Maldives and The Chedi in Oman.

He then travelled to China. He says, “I came to Hong Kong to work in the famous iconic Mandarin Oriental Hotel the Excelsior’s restaurant ToTT’s and … immediately fell in love … I love [the] Asian mentality because it’s genuine, warm and friendly. I love the way people approach food and their hospitality.”

Truter continued to seek more from his career and moved on from ToTT’s to further develop his skills in the Grand Hyatt Seoul as its executive sous chef in Seoul. The Grand Hyatt Seoul is one of the biggest food and beverage operations for the Hyatt group in Asia.

After his success in Seoul, Hyatt moved him to the Hyatt Regency in Kyoto Japan as the hotel’s Executive Chef . Truter had an amazing time in Japan, where he not only learned about the country’s cuisine but also made his mark on the Kyoto food scene with his unique cooking style.

After working in Kyoto, Truter moved once again and became the executive chef at the legendary Park Hyatt Busan in Korea, where he continues to lead his team to great success through innovative cooking that makes his kitchen stand out in the culinary world. He is currently one of Hyatt’s youngest executive chefs in Asia.

Chef Truter has a love for many countries’ culinary traditions, saying, “There is no country in the world which does not have a wonderful culinary history. When you travel [to] a country, one of the first things you think about is food.”

Truter likes to keep his dishes simple yet memorable. “I don’t like complications. I believe in very straightforward kind[s] of flavours. I like strong direct tastes. This is the reason why I love French food. You can combine only three ingredients and get very impressive delicious dishes.”

Truter’s culinary creativity results in unique and personalised dining experiences for his guests, and he is not only behind the menu but also personally organises the decorations, table-ware and flower arrangements for every client.

“The way you choose and arrange flowers, music, furniture can create a different atmosphere and give you different emotions. Everything depends on what is around you; what you want to eat is related to your mood and your mood is intrinsically linked to the surrounding environment,” the chef says.

Thanks to his talent and reputation of going above and beyond, Chef Etienne has raised the standards of private catering and dining. When asked what his secret to culinary greatness is, he says, “You throw your brain out of the window and … follow your heart. The best creations [come from] inside!”

Pictures: Supplied

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