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[Herald Interview] Jeffrey She, chef with business savvy

Sheraton Jinan Hotel’s executive chef Jeffrey She has worked at glitzy establishments such as St. Regis and Le Meridien, but he puts on no airs, creating a first impression that is more in line with the image of the proprietor of a traditional, home-style restaurant.

He is a big, jolly man with a bright smile. But under that friendly demeanor lies a sharp business mind, as She has honed his skills for 18 years mainly in the demanding hotel business.

She’s first field of study was hotel management, followed by a stint in culinary school. He brought those two specialties together in his career. While receiving recognition for his culinary talents, She was also recognized by the Starwood hotel group for his initiative in bringing efficiency to hotel kitchens such as through making changes in the flow of ingredients in the kitchen.

Jeffrey She, executive chef of Sheraton Jinan Hotel (Sheraton Seoul D Cube City Hotel)
Jeffrey She, executive chef of Sheraton Jinan Hotel (Sheraton Seoul D Cube City Hotel)

“The customer is god,” She said with no hesitation when The Korea Herald asked about the guiding philosophy in his cooking after a lunch at the restaurant Feast at the Sheraton Seoul D Cube City Hotel, where he is currently overseeing a dim sum promotional event. He said his greatest talent was his versatility and the ability to match customers’ needs.

“The chef cannot have favorite ingredients. You should be working with all ingredients, and like all of them. This is very important for chefs,” he said.

He said that he did not always have this mindset. He too had once insisted on his “one way” of cooking until he took a break from the kitchen to work as a marketing consultant at Heinz Shanghai. “There, I learned it was important to understand what the customer wants, and give it to them.”

As a hotel chef, She is adept at making adjustments to his menus to satisfy an international crowd, and he said that some of those adjustments can be seen in his menu for the dim sum promotion he is currently supervising at Feast.

Jeffrey She, executive chef of Sheraton Jinan Hotel (Sheraton Seoul D Cube City Hotel)
Jeffrey She, executive chef of Sheraton Jinan Hotel (Sheraton Seoul D Cube City Hotel)

He described the theme of the promotion’s lineup as “modern,” pointing out that his dumplings are filled with lobster, sea cucumbers and lamb, rather than the traditional prawn or pork. The promotion also offers barbecue dishes and desserts that bring the taste of China to the buffet.

The dim sum promotion continues at the Sheraton Seoul D Cube City Hotel until March 10. For more information, call (02) 2211-1710.

By Won Ho-jung (hjwon@heraldcorp.com)
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