Sweet Aspirations by Executive Pastry Chef

Sweet Aspirations by Executive Pastry Chef

I am here dedicated to creating delightful pastries with local ingredients and spreading happiness through my creations.

15 Jan 2024

Sweet Aspirations by Zaki, Executive Pastry Chef

Ulaanbaatar, 15 January 2024 –

Q: What is your first impression since you are here in Mongolia for the first time?
A light blue sky stretches over a snow-covered landscape, mirroring the kindness of the local people, which gave me a unique feeling to know that I came to the right place.
Q: You've been here for two months; how do you experience Mongolian pastries and other pastries available in the city?
A: Being here for over two months I haven’t had too many chances to explore the market fully. I found that there is not a written history of Mongolian traditional pastries, which makes me feel like coming to the right market to introduce many good desserts that are not available presently. Seeing many pastry shop sites I am feeling that the demand for sweets is high and many good offers are already here, however I am sure that there is still some space for me to make a difference in the future.
Q: What is your favourite dessert?
A: Working for almost 30 years in International Hotels I really fell in love with the European Pastries. Classics like the Black Forest cake and apple pie from Germany, the nutty cakes from Switzerland and the light and elegant desserts from France are equally belonging to my favourites. I am planning to develop a special Black Forest cake as one of my signatures for the Kempinski Hotel in Ulaanbaatar.
Q: What inspired you to pursue a career in pastry and baking?
A: During my college at British Academy-ILLI, Cairo, Egypt - Hotels & Tourism Department (1992–1994), visiting many hotels, the aroma of pastry sparked my passion. I thought, "Oh, I am very happy to be in this department. I can be good at this area." This was the turning point that led me to become a pastry chef.
Q: How do you stay updated on the latest trends and innovations in the pastry and baking industry?
A: During my college and career life, I consistently research trends and seek the latest information. I consistently strive for creativity, continuously refreshing my knowledge to stay in tune with evolving trends. Therefore I get to stay abreast of the latest developments from many websites such as  “BakeMark International” to stay updated and get ideas for new recipes. I also love to experiment with new produce and I am looking forward to exploring what Mongolia has to offer. I already heard about seabuckthorn and I am sure I can come up with some nice ideas to make a speciality out of it.
Q: How do you maintain the quality and consistency of pastries in a high-volume setting?
A: Drawing from my experience at the Congress Center in Sharm el Sheikh, Egypt, where we served large catering to sizable events like the World Economic Forum with 15,000 participants, maintaining quality involves careful attention to standards from product quality, hygiene, storing, preparation, timing, and presentation.
Q: How do you approach customer feedback?
A: I make it a point to communicate with guests. Even with language barriers, I try to connect with the guest. Every piece of feedback, whether positive or constructive, is valuable.
Q: How do you describe the working environment here?
A: I am bringing here my know-how, recipe with international standards. They possess excellent skills and dedication, but are still required to learn to deliver the authentic taste and finest quality. Our team's persistent and unwavering dedication, progressing step by step, day by day, toward achieving our desired outcome.
Q: How do you adapt your culinary skills to the local taste preferences in Mongolia?
A: I already have many other different culinary experiences in sweets. There are people who like sweets a lot; however, Mongolians do not have a strong inclination towards sweets, much like myself. I personally prefer a more natural sweetness, considering it to be a healthier choice.
Q: How do you train your pastry team to ensure they meet the standards of the establishment?
A: Since arriving in Mongolia, I've been working on updating concepts and menus. We've already received positive feedback on coffee breaks, set menus, catering options, and buffets. My mission is to elevate our pastry department to be the best in Ulaanbaatar.
Q: How familiar are you with the availability of local ingredients in Mongolia?
A: I am in the process of experimenting with local materials. It's a challenge to adapt to different flours, chocolates, and butters, etc. But I am here dedicated to creating delightful pastries with local ingredients and spreading happiness through my creations.

Q: If you had the opportunity to select ingredients from the market, what would be your choice?
A: Given the chance to choose ingredients, I would go for crucial elements in pastry-making, such as pistachio praline from Europe, hazelnut and almond praline, and original pastry powder cream.
Q: Do you have a plan to develop a signature pastry in the Mongolian market?
A: As mentioned above I certainly will try to implement some European signatures and also try to come up with my personal signature with local influence.
Q: What are your career goals as an Executive Pastry Chef?
A: My main goal here is to be a well-known pastry chef in Ulaanbaatar, with the ultimate aim of being the number one pastry team. /chuckles/
Thank you for your honest interview, and have a good day and good luck for your future career.
A: Thank you too, and have a great day.


About Kempinski Hotel Khan Palace Ulaanbaatar: Kempinski Hotel Khan Palace has, in all, 99 rooms and suites, which are designed to accommodate every need of a modern business traveller. Spacious and cosy rooms and suites offer a quiet place to relax. There is no doubt that business travellers at the hotel will appreciate the extra-large working desk and ergonomic desk chair.
A special climate-control feature in every room provides clean air and absorbs outside air pollution. Modern conference facilities with daylight are available with a capacity from 10 to 200 persons. For centuries, Mongolian culture has demonstrated its gift of personalised and exquisite hospitality. By combining this unique welcome with the offering of the finest cuisine by our multinational chefs, a dining experience beyond your expectations is waiting for you.   
As a hotel with five-star facilities and professional trained and multilingual team members, Kempinski Hotel Khan Palace is always pleased to deliver a pleasant and memorable stay to all its guests. www.kempinski.com/ulaanbaatar

About Kempinski: Created in 1897, Kempinski Hotels is Europe’s oldest luxury hotel group. Kempinski’s rich heritage of impeccable personal service and superb hospitality is complemented by the exclusivity and individuality of its properties. Today the Kempinski Group operates 82 hotels and residences in 36 countries and currently has more than 25 prestigious projects under development around the globe. Each five star hotel reflects the strength and success of the Kempinski brand without losing sight of its heritage; each one imbues the quality guests have come to expect from Kempinski while embracing the cultural traditions of its location. The portfolio comprises historic landmark properties, award-winning urban lifestyle hotels, outstanding resorts and prestigious residences. Kempinski is a founding member of the Global Hotel Alliance (GHA), the world’s largest alliance of independent hotel brands. www.kempinski.com www.ghadiscovery.com

Media contact:
Suvd Sukhbaatar · Marketing Manager             
Kempinski Hotel Khan Palace Ulaanbaatar
East Cross Road, Peace Avenue · 13345 Ulaanbaatar · Mongolia
T +976 7575 3462 · M +976 9905 4846 · [email protected]