In anticipation of the Regent Porto Montenegro Hotel & Residences’ opening on August 1st this year, we caught up with the hotel’s new Executive Chef Mr. Jusman So, who recently joined the team from Bali. Mr So will be charged with ensuring the gastronomic experience at Montenegro’s hottest new hotel opening is up to the Regent brand’s international standards. And he hasn’t wasted any time in preparing for the task!
PM: Jusman, given your previous professional experience in Asia, what persuaded you to make the move to Montenegro?
JS: First and foremost, as a chef originating from Asia, the opportunity to work for an international luxury 5-star hotel brand in the capacity of Executive Chef in a European location was too good an opportunity to miss! Also, with Regent Porto Montenegro being part of Porto Montenegro and servicing a yachting clientele, I know we will be serving the “who’s who” of the region which makes my job both all the more interesting and more challenging at the same time – those customers will expect the very highest standards and it is our job to make sure they do not leave disappointed.
PM: And what about Regent Hotels & Resorts, how do you see the brand developing in future?
JS: The group is looking very dynamic at the moment and I strongly believe that this brand will successfully establish itself globally in the coming years. We have some very experienced personnel spearheading the growth phase from our corporate office in Taipei and, in my opinion at least, this is the best time to be coming on board. Right now, everything seems possible.
PM: What type of gastronomic experience are you going to be offering in the hotel restaurant?
JS: Our main restaurant will feature dishes inspired both by the Mediterranean and Adriatic region alongside a few carefully chosen Asian specialties. We will also feature a selection of prime cuts of meats and seafood cooked over an open flame on our charcoal grill. The concept will be ‘elegant yet simple’, focusing on the best possible ingredients and natural, organic keeping flavors. At the same time, we will have a selection of luscious offerings such as Wagyu beef, foie gras and lobsters.
PM: Have any of the dishes from this region particularly inspired you so far?
JS: Yes, definitely. The Mediterranean will be an inspiration for certain dishes in the menu and we will work closely with regional farmers that produce organically raised animals and vegetables that will go into preparing our dishes. I’ll have to surprise you with some specific dishes later though.
PM: What is your culinary philosophy?
JS: Simply put, to use a combination of classical and modern cooking techniques to bring out the best possible flavors and textures in ingredients using an elegant yet simple presentation style. For me, it is all about putting out dishes that combine an aesthetic quality with rustic and hearty flavors that our guests can relate to. After trying one dish of course, I want them to come back gain and again to try the rest of the menu too!
PM: If you can chose one signature dish from your menu that is a “must try”, which would you chose?
JS: I think it would have to be the Dukka-coated lamb shank, slow cooked for 36 hours on spiced pumpkin ragout with preserved lemon, raisins, feta cheese and couscous salad.