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A taste of Butti’s cook
It is the broad smile on his face that both welcomes and gives his guests a tip of what to expect at the dining. Even the way he moves around the restaurant, picks up cutlery, or asks after his guests confuses first diners who take him for an ordinary waiter.
Unless you are told, you will leave with the impression that Walter Butti is a kitchen staff. No, Butti is the executive chef at Movenpick Ambassador Hotel Accra.
With over two decades experience in hospitality, seven of which were spent travelling with foremost cruise liners – MV Orion and Celebrity Cruise – from the North Poles to the Arctic, satisfying heterogeneous palate of its high profile guests, Butti is definitely a good hand at any five star hospitality property across the world.
Though a Swiss-born in a Swiss-branded hotel, Butti seems to know West Africa cuisines more than the locals. Since taking over the affairs of Movenpick Ambassador Hotel’s kitchen, Butti has committed to creating new menus experimenting with African flavour on continental dishes, which has so far resulted in fusion food only served at the restaurant of Movenpick Ambassador Hotel Accra.
Guests who met him at Hunter’s Country House in South Africa will not forget in a hurry Butti’s gazpacho with oven-roasted langoustines, grilled jumbo prawns marinated in lime juice, and blackberry soup scented with plum brandy that leave them longing for another night and another dinner.
Butti is doing more than that in Accra’s 260-room Movenpick Ambassador Hotel.
His Sunday brunch is fully booked even by the locals because of the fusion food on offer. Some Sundays, the restaurant overflows with guests to the open lobby arena. On seeing over 100 guests delighting on his delicacies, he enthuses calmly, “My good people, enjoy your meal,” while gesticulating in appreciation.
He does that because, according to him, “Food is core here. No matter the facilities, guests look forward to a refreshing offering at the dining. It is one of the unique selling points of our hotel and we do not compromise that.”
However, the magic that brought about the huge success of the kitchen in the whole hotel offerings, he says, is the change of the flavour pattern. “We have changed the flavour pattern and ushered in authentic tastes across global palates we serve in the hotel. Since then, our patronage has boomed.”
Satisfying the in-house and outside guests of the 260-room Movenpick is one uphill task, but Butti does that with ease because he works with a team of culinary experts who understand team work. Of course, he shares the blame of every angry guest and the appreciation of every satisfied guest with his team. “If we fail, we fail together, and if we win, we win together,” he will always tell his team members.
One thing he desires is to train a crop of indigenous chefs who will take over from him someday. “By the time I am done here, my earnest wish is to hand over to indigenous chefs who will even rule the kitchen in five star hotels in Ghana and across West Africa.”
He has since spotted those desirous of greatness in the kitchen and has been mentoring them to greatness. So, expect meeting an executive chef in a five star hotel in Europe, America and Asia that will proudly say they are Africans and mean it.
Of course, Stuart Chase, general manager of the hotel, and Annie Terminet Schuppon, executive sales and marketing director of the hotel, are happy Butti is complementing other sections of the hotel business with his must-taste delicacies.
Looking ahead, Butti says his blossom career in hospitality that started when he was 13 years old is just beginning, as he hopes to put more years in delivering five-star services and meet the need of every guest at the dining.
He, of course, invites you to come and dine in Accra’s five-star restaurant.