Executive Chef, Novotel Bucharest City Centre (Romania)

Dumitru Bucsa

Dumitru Bucsa's story

When I started in hospitality, Romania was a young democracy, and luxury and gastronomy were not well developed. Since then, people’s tastes have changed – luxury hotels used to be for people with lots of money and business people but not any more.

Even in a company canteen, people expect well presented, good food. This is not how it was 25 years ago, when soup and a main course used to be enough; now there is variety and meals made from quality products. People look after their health and as cooks, we must give them a choice. Also, people did not used to eat fish in Romania but now it is popular.

I have not lived outside Romania other than doing three weeks’ training in France but I have worked in the kitchen with people from many countries and have learned a lot from them about hospitality and food.

Gastronomy is like fashion, it changes with the seasons and that is reflected in our menus throughout the year – spring, summer, autumn and winter. In addition, customers’ habits have changed a lot and we have to change with them; we surprise them, give them something new every time, especially for guests who come back time and again.

To be a Heartist means cooking with love to provide food for the soul. Food is not just for the stomach, we don’t live to eat, we live to have interesting experiences and make good memories, and I want to do that for our customers and to give them pleasure.

The proudest moment for me was in 2006 when my general manager at the Sofitel Bucarest wanted to make a big change and make his mark on the international hotel scene in Romania, and he pushed me to take the position of executive chef in the hotel. Until then, the big international brands did not have Romanian executive chefs but after we made that change at the Sofitel, others followed as they realised that Romanian chefs had the ability to lead the way.

For the past 15 to 20 years, I have had a lot of students from culinary schools in my kitchen and I had the opportunity to go and teach in those schools as well. I tell them the biggest challenge in hospitality is to give guests a good experience and if we don’t want to provide warm hospitality, then we should not be in this industry. At the beginning of my career, it was not like that but now I know that the sector gives back a lot of satisfaction for each month you spend in it and you must have hospitality in your heart.

  • Dumitru Bucsa
  • Executive Chef
  • Novotel Bucharest City Centre (Romania)

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