As the executive chief of Banyan Tree Macau, Matias Martinez (right) oversees the food and beverage operations. Cooking has been a passion since he was young. He started as a commis chef, then moved up to become a demi chef, a chef de partie, a chef de cuisine, before being named executive chef 10 years on. 'To succeed, you must be passionate, honest and very focused on guest satisfaction.'
His advice is to work hard, stay up-to-date with culinary trends, develop a strong professional relationship with co-workers and be willing to help them at anytime.
Martinez is passionate to learn and determined to achieve. 'When I was at school, I would spend my vacation interning at the best restaurants in Spain. After I was promoted to chef de cuisine, I started studying about finances, leadership and coaching to improve my ability to run a large operation.'
Indeed, continuous learning is a key to success for Martinez. 'For more than 10 years, I improved my skills through workshops in pastry and baking, Chinese, Japanese, European cuisines, and molecular cuisine, and I also attended seminars about foie gras, truffles and caviar.'
As Martinez has moved up, he has had to adjust to new job duties. 'When I was working as the demi chef and chef de partie, I focused on cooking exactly the way the chef had taught me,' he says.
'When I got to the rank of chef de cuisine, I needed to be much more focused on how to organise a team, create menus, recipes and control costs. I needed to learn how to run a restaurant, making sure guests and associates are satisfied, and that the financial results are in line with the budget,' he adds.
Martinez says the salary for a chef varies, depending on the skill set and background. The working hours are also variable. He says that chefs always know the time they have to start, but never know when they will finish. 'Every day is different,' he says.