Steve Deconinck from The Palace Downtown Dubai was named Executive Chef of the Year 2017 at Hotelier Middle East's 13th annual awards ceremony.
This category was sponsored by Jackson Dallmayr Kaffee and the award was presented to Wright by the company's managing partner Arnd Springer.
Steve Deconinck worked in a number of Michelin-starred restaurants in Europe before moving to the UAE, and he has used this experience to launch new and innovative culinary activities as well as new concepts, resulting in cover and revenue increases.
He is also responsible for a number of new cost saving initiatives in Palace Downtown as the pilot for Emaar Hospitality Group, including supplier tenders on behalf of the group, food wastage systems and breakage controls. His skills have been recognised by the hospitality company who often have him working on group-wide events.
The other finalists in this category were: Daniel Hillier, Jumeirah Beach Hotel; Debrup Mitra, JW Marriott Hotel Dubai; Doxis Bekris, Raffles Dubai; Gaurav Gulati, The H Dubai; Girish Babu, Media One Hotel; Rajiv Ranjan, Mövenpick Hotel & Apartments Bur Dubai and Sudqi Naddaf, Kempinski Hotel Mall of the Emirates Dubai
Highly commended was given to Jumeirah Beach Hotel’s Daniel Hillier.
Speaking to Hotelier about the most gratifying aspect of his role, Deconinck said: “Giving my team the opportunity instead of just working for myself. The most rewarding part is that people respect what I do for them. At the end of the day, they have to work and this is what makes me so happy because I can push them.”
Deconinck also shared the keys to his success.
"Being there for the team and taking care of the guests. There are no secrets at all, it’s very simple. Take care of the guest, love the guest and that’s it.
“Everything comes from the heart. If you have something that comes from the heart, you will be the best. You can study to be a hotelier for 25 years but if you don’t have heart you will never succeed. This is what I call being a hotelier.”
The fairy tale-themed event took place on October 25, 2017 at The Ritz-Carlton Dubai.
The event was supported by a number of industry partners, including silver sponsor SNS Haute Couture Furniture, category sponsors SIAL Middle East, A. Ronai, Diversey, Jung, OSN for Business, Dimara International, supporting sponsor Pulsar Foodstuff, event sponsor Party Social, floral sponsor Forever Rose London, coffee sponsor Dallmayr Coffee, water sponsor Acqua Panna & S.Pellegrino, and beverage sponsor MMI.