Blogged by @Lan
Hyatt Regency Kinabalu, Kota Kinabalu, Sabah, Malaysia
Photos by curiostraveller.com and Hyatt Regency Kinabalu
“An inspiring biography by Hyatt Regency Kinabalu,”-curiostraveller.com
KOTA KINABALU-SABAH: Chef Ahmad Azfar Zikri bin Ahmad Zaini recently joined Hyatt Regency Kinabalu as a baker chef de partie. His humble beginnings as a chef began when he decided to become a part-time line cook at a Japanese restaurant. From there, he developed a more intense interest in cooking, switching to an Indian restaurant and then a Malay restaurant. He then earned a diploma in culinary arts and a degree in culinary management, majoring in Italian cuisine.
He underwent a six-month internship at La Pineta Ristorante in Livorno, Italy, where he learned that cooking is more than a job- it is a way of life. “The way they work is extraordinary. They take cooking very seriously. In Europe, every detail is important, including timing, measurements and garnishes. They set a very high standard, especially for food presentation,” Chef Azfar said.
He discovered his passion for baking during his schooling. “While there were many clubs that offered extracurricular activities, I chose the baking and pastry club because I wanted to discover what I actually wanted to be in the next 5 years,” Chef Azfar said. With that simple decision, he embarked on a journey that led him to become a baker chef de partie at Hyatt Regency Kinabalu.
The chefs at his college inspired him a lot, teaching him about what it means to be a chef, helping pave his way and ensuring his goals were clear, which set him on his current path. Looking at the dedication of his mentors, he knew in his heart and his mind that he wanted to be just like them.
Though newly hired, he already has goals for what he wants to achieve during his time here. “I want to bake something that can be called a signature bread at Hyatt Regency Kinabalu. I am looking forward to creating something new that other hotels and pastry shops do not have, something that can only be found here,” he said.
Chef Azhar reads a lot of pastry books to ensure ideas keep flowing into his head. In his quest to create his signature breads, he went through many trial-and-error experiments with different ingredients. Failure motivates him to be better and to keep improving so that he can produce top-quality breads that everyone can enjoy. “We do not learn anything from fearing mistakes. We learn through failure. It is life’s greatest teacher,” he said.
His signature items-sourdough bread, buttermilk buns and coffee buns-become an instant hit. Almost every day before tea time, his sourdough bread sells out. This reception from guests and the popularity of his bread and other items has shocked him.
In 4 years, he wants to be a head baker or a sous chef, leading people and inspiring them to be better chefs. In ten years, he plans to open his own bakery. “As a baker, you always dream of having your own bakery where you can see people coming in with smiles on their faces as they enjoy the things that you made with your own hands. That is what makes me happy.” Chef Azfar said with a smile on his face.
Visit Mosaic Café which is located at Hyatt Regency Kinabalu and is open daily from 10.00am to 11.00pm.
About Hyatt Regency Kinabalu
Hyatt Regency Kinabalu, a 288-room hotel, is located in the heart of Kota Kinabalu’s business, shopping and entertainment hub, overlooking the South China Sea and the beautiful coral islands of the Tunku Abdul Rahman Marine Park. The hotel offers recently renovated guestrooms, exceptional service, modern comforts and a dazzling choice of local and international cuisines.
Reservations for Hyatt Regency Kinabalu can be made by calling +60 88 22 1234 or by visiting kinabalu.regency.hyatt.com.
About Hyatt Regency™
The Hyatt Regency™ brand prides itself on connecting travellers to who and what matters most to them. More than 160 conveniently located Hyatt Regency™ urban and resort locations in more than 30 countries around the world serve as go-to gathering spaces for every occasion, from efficient business meetings to memorable family vacations. The brand offers one-stop experiences that put everything guests need right at their fingertips. Hyatt Regency™ hotels and resorts provide a full range of services and amenities, including notable culinary experiences; technology-enabled ways to collaborate; the space to work, engage or relax; and expert planners who can take care of every detail. For more information, visit hyattregency.com.