First Lithuanian Chef Joins Ranks of Kempinski Hotels Executive Chefs
Vytautas Alekna has become the new executive chef at Kempinski Hotel Cathedral Square. He is the first Lithuanian executive chef in the Kempinski luxury hotel chain of 76 hotels. After taking over the kitchen from former executive chef Javier Lopez, V. Alekna will continue to successfully lead the kitchen of the Restaurant Telegrafas, Le Salon Bar & Lounge Bar and the hotel’s conference centre.
“I and the whole team at Kempinski Hotel Cathedral Square are proud of Vytautas’ achievements, deservedly becoming the first Lithuanian to join the ranks of 76 executive chefs at Kempinski Hotels. Our hotel focuses on talent development, motivation and career opportunities, and V. Alekna is a great example of that. Through his perseverance, endurance, unceasing enthusiasm and desire to improve over the course of six years, he has matured to become a strong candidate for the position of executive chef.
We are sure that, with his clear vision, knowledge and unique personal style, Vytautas will continue to successfully cultivate the Telegrafas Restaurant, Le Salon Bar & Lounge and the hotel’s conference centre and will strengthen the leading position in local and international markets,” says Mr Kai Schukowski, General Manager of the hotel.
Alekna’s chef’s career began eight years ago in restaurants River Side and IDW Esperanza. He joined the Kempinski Hotel Cathedral Square team in 2012 as a cook, and in almost six years he has been promoted five times. During his career, Vytautas was a trainee at the one-Michelin-star restaurant Kinn Kinn (Copenhagen) and took part in projects with Lorenz Adlon Esszimmer (two Michelin stars, Berlin), Cà d’Oro (one Michelin star, St Moritz) and Thai cuisine star chef McDang.
Alekna strives to create a unique culinary style, focusing on the Baltic countries and local Lithuanian seasonal ingredients. Their flavours, to respect the Lithuanian culinary culture and its producers, will be felt in almost all of the dishes of the Restaurant Telegrafas. The seasonal menu has Vytautas incorporating less frequently used ingredients inspired by his childhood memories. The new summer menu will offer the guests of the Restaurant Telegrafas summer flavours such as a fresh Chanterelle soup or mashed strawberries with sugar.
“From the outset, the Restaurant Telegrafas is the place I want to take care of as my own restaurant. It is not just a job, but a lifestyle, a hobby. Therefore, I am glad to face the new challenge of leading a professional restaurant team, with a lot of ideas and a clear vision I have to offer. It is also lovely to see the emergence of a new generation of young chefs in the Lithuanian and Baltic cuisine field, for whom the culinary identity of the Baltic States is important, and who think about local ingredients. This is something I also strongly express in my own dishes. Being a scout and fisherman at heart and in life, I believe I am a person who loves, preserves and cares for traditions, for without them you cannot create a future. In addition, I seek to change people’s attitude towards food and local products,” says executive chef Vytautas Alekna.