Chef Ferran Tadeo's pursuit of excellence brings him to Asia

The curious, tenacious and talented Catalan chef of Embassy Room - Catalan Cuisine knows what to bring to the table – and what to leave out

TableCheck

TableCheck

Mar 12, 2024 - 4 min read

Chef Ferran Tadeo's pursuit of excellence brings him to Asia

To comfortably exist in the unknown, one has to be adventurous and a sponge for knowledge. Those who leave the confines of familiar surroundings in search of adventure, such as Chef Ferran Tadeo of Embassy Room – Catalan Cuisine in Park Hyatt Bangkok, are open to wherever life takes them. Luckily for those in Asia, Chef Ferran's adventurous spirit brought him to the continent to give Asians, particularly Thais, a taste of his unique spin on Catalan cuisine. 

Chef Ferran's fascination for Asia culminated in a multi-country journey that began in Japan when he was 22.

“I went from Tokyo to Kyoto. Two years later, I traveled to China, starting in Beijing and ending up in Hong Kong,” he narrates. “It took all of my attention because it was all so different. It's not what I was  used to.”

He lived in the United States for a while, but the pull of Asia was very strong, mainly because everything was unfamiliar and exciting.

“When you move here you need to learn. There are different languages and cultures. Everything is different, even the way English is spoken in each place is different,” he says. “In Hong Kong, it's Hong Kong English. In Thailand, it's Thai English. All of this changes how you relate to everyone and it makes you better because you are learning from other people.”

It always starts at home: His Catalan upbringing

However, before his love for travel, adventure, and different cultures, there was a love for food. As with every chef or excellent home cook, that initial adoration for anything culinary started at home. For Chef Ferran, the realization that he wanted to be a chef came at six years old.

“I'd always cooked with my mother and grandmother at home and I really liked it,” he recalls. “And my friends, they had a bar on the beach and I was always there for the summer. I started helping out a little bit by washing dishes and then slowly made my way into the kitchen.” 

These kitchen forays – which began by making breakfast omelets – intensified his interest and desire to be part of the food world. He went to culinary school and feverishly filled his schedule with studies on weekdays and restaurant work on weekends. From there, he honed his skills under the tutelage of some of the best Spanish chefs such as Martin Berasategui and Xavier Pellicer by working and training in their multiple-Michelin-starred establishments.

“I'd always cooked with my mother and grandmother at home and I really liked it."

Making his mark in El Bulli

It was his internship at world-renowned Spanish restaurant El Bulli that shaped his work ethic and culinary philosophy. It also proved his mettle and determination because El Bulli – once regarded as the best restaurant in the world before it permanently closed its doors in 2012 – was famously hard to get into and had a reputation for putting its stagiaires or “apprentices” through the wringer. Each year, only about 30 apprentices were accepted out of around 3,000 applicants. For six months, the trainees – selected by Chef de cuisine Marc Cuspinera – received instructions from its founder Chef Ferran Adria, and his chefs. After that, they could say that they've earned their culinary stripes.  

How did Chef Ferran Tadeo manage the remarkable feat of making it to the El Bulli kitchen?

“I talked to Marc. I was young and I had a lot of energy,” he says “I told him 'I just want to come to El Bulli to work. I may not be the best candidate, but, I'm telling you, I'm going to work as hard as I can to be the best.' He liked me and gave me the opportunity.”

They liked him so much that he spent not one six-month cycle, but two and ended up becoming one of the last staff members of El Bulli before it closed.

"I was young and I had a lot of energy."
Embassy Room – Catalan Cuisine at Park Hyatt Bangkok
Embassy Room – Catalan Cuisine at Park Hyatt Bangkok

A Catalan chef in Bangkok: Making his mark at Embassy Room – Catalan Cuisine

His training in Michelin-starred restaurants has certainly informed how he runs the Embassy Room at Park Hyatt Bangkok. There, he not only learned what to do but also discarded anything that was not necessary. 

In Michelin-starred restaurants, everything needs to be perfect. Being there teaches you how to give 100% of yourself to the task. You learn organization, how to be super clean and work under pressure,” he says. “When you open your own place, you apply what you want and take out the bits that you don't want. Maybe you worked in a restaurant and they were hard on everyone in the kitchen. They yelled a lot and you didn't like that. You change that when you go on your own.”  

Chef Ferran Tadeo's culinary magic: Grilled octopus, mediterranean red prawn and peas
Chef Ferran Tadeo's culinary magic: Grilled octopus, mediterranean red prawn and peas

He also learned to adapt to the culture of the people he's serving. He may be bringing Catalan to Bangkok, but he knows he needs to incorporate Thai preferences and tastes into his dishes. That kind of adaptability can only be had when one has an appreciation and respect for diners and their background.

“When you go to another country, you need to understand the market, which is very important. I'm cooking in Thailand. Here, you need to go a little bit more spicy and add to the acidity. You should go around and try the food they are eating every day,” he says. “You're not going to cook Thai food, but you need to understand the flavors they like. You cannot say 'No, that's not how I cook' because you are in Bangkok, cooking for mostly Thai diners.” 

He does introduce his diners to new things, like the Sunday brunch that's more of a tasting menu for what Embassy Room offers all the other days of the week. He gives guests a peek at what's in store for them while also respecting their palates.

“Everything is on the table and for sharing. We don't do individual servings. It's more like us wanting them to know what we do from Monday to Saturday,” he says. “Come Sunday, they will understand the story behind it and it will be easier for them to come back on a Tuesday and remember what they ate during that Sunday brunch.”

Chef Ferran is indeed the quintessential adventurer. Curious, inquisitive, bold, open-minded, and most important of all, humble and respectful of traditions. No wonder Bangkok – and the rest of Asia – has welcomed him with open arms. 

Embassy Room - Catalan Cuisine

Address: 9th Floor Park Hyatt Bangkok, 88 Witthayu Rd, Lumphini, Pathum Wan, Bangkok 10330, Thailand
Website: Park Hyatt Bangkok
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