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Getting to know Kasper Christensen
Meet Kasper Christensen. Currently the Group Executive Chef for Ovolo Hotels, Kasper has followed an amazing career path to date – including working on the Danish Royal Yacht and entertaining Europe’s elite.He came to Australia for a short visit, but 12 years later he is still here. In that time he’s owned his own catering business, has worked in some of Australian’s premium establishments and has become a qualified teacher at Le Cordon Bleu…
With some fantastic wisdom and advice to share, it’s time to sit back and enjoy getting to know Kasper Christensen…
Give us a snap shot of your career to date
I started off my career in Denmark 22 years ago. I’ve been lucky enough to work in kitchens in Denmark, France and Australia. One of my earliest roles was in a small 5-star hotel. Upon completing my catering degree, I joined the national military service. I was stationed on the Royal Yacht, and had the privilege of cooking for the Royal Family, as we travelled around Europe. Prince Henry introduced me to the French kitchen, which later inspired my moved to Monaco for 2 years where I worked in a Michelin star restaurant.
In 2005 I arrived in Australia, for what was meant to be a short visit- but 12 years later, and I am still here. I worked as the sous chef at Quay for 5 years, finishing off as the senior sous chef. After taking a break for a couple of months, I took on the new role of head chef at Rushcutters.
The long hours of life in the kitchen pushed me to start a new challenge and after completing my teaching certificate, I started teaching at Le Cordon Bleu. After doing that for a bit, I went on to open my own event and catering company Nordic Dining, before being head hunted and asked to join Apple Jack, as their group executive chef, running six venues.
All of this, has led me to accepting my current role of Group Executive Chef for Ovolo Hotels Australia.
The most memorable event you have worked on and why?
It would definitely have to be the first event for the Royal family of Denmark. It was my 21st birthday, we were on a yacht serving 50 people. It was scary, but it went well.
What did you ‘learn the hard way’ when planning an event?
Organisation, Organisation, Organisation! When you start out, you always forget something, so you have to create a process and make sure you tick all the boxes as you go.
What are three personality traits that are required to succeed in the events industry?
Common sense, attitude and dedication (plus communication).
If you could share one piece of advice to those starting out in the industry what would it be?
Bury yourself in industry magazines and connect with people in that industry.
If you could cook for an event anywhere in the world where would it be and why?
The French Riviera – on a yacht, because it is beautiful and peaceful.
Favourite type of food?
Currently, South Indian
Describe yourself in two words?
Passionate and fast-paced
How do you unwind after a big event?
It has changed over time. I used to go out and celebrate, however, now I prefer to go to the gym.
Words to live by?
I’d rather be looking at it, than looking for it.
Where do you go for creative inspiration?
Out in nature, eating edible plants and going for a coastal walk
St Peter in Paddington
When entertaining at home what do you cook?
I usually cook more French-inspired, rustic food
What do you prefer to cook for; cocktail party or sit-down dinner?
What is your ideal holiday destination?
Somewhere in Asia
What’s your drink of choice at an event?
Can’t go wrong with a gin and tonic
Who would you love to invite to dinner (past or present)?
What is the craziest request you have ever had when planning a meal/ menu at an event?
I once had a client that was allergic to everything! We had to buy all new plates and cutlery that couldn’t be washed with anything else. I had to get very creative with the 4-course dinner as there were so many food restrictions.
Why do you love your job?
I love working with passionate people, implementing new systems and changing the way people work for the better.
If you weren’t working as a chef in events what would you do?
I would be a fighter pilot