Israeli chef, Gilad Peled, is a 36-year-old who has been doggedly determined in his career path since he started his formal training. “I’ve been interested in food and cooking since I can remember. It was my great passion. As a boy I cooked with my mother. For my 16th birthday I asked for a pasta machine. People barely knew about pasta making in Israel then.”
However, it wasn’t until after his military service, plus three additional years as an officer, that he even decided to follow his real passion. So in 2006, he invested his entire army savings in a full-time professional chef’s diploma at London’s Le Cordon Bleu where he packed in the experience.
“I did a Cordon Bleu course in pâtisserie while also studying for the full-time diploma. I knew I would need those skills if I were to be a chef; and I worked weekends at Michel Roux’s Le Gavroche. Most apprentices start in the kitchen at 16 and I was already in my early twenties so I felt I needed to make up for lost time.” It was gruelling but when his student visa expired, his non-EU passport prevented him from working in London’s top restaurants. So he did it for nothing.
I did a series of unpaid placement at restaurants including The Square, Marcus Wareing’s Petrus and Gordon Ramsay’s Royal Hospital Road.
It was at Ramsay’s flagship, three Michelin-starred restaurant that Peled got the chance to cook for Ramsay and his chef patron, Clare Smyth. Peled clearly impressed: “After three days, they said they’d arrange my visa. It was an amazing opportunity to work with Clare and Gordon. I’d never seen anything like it before. I loved the energy and how serious they were about food. Clare took me under her wing and taught me. I really felt I belonged there.” However, at the end of that year, he couldn’t extend his visa and was forced to leave.
Back home in Israel in 2008, Peled built his own reputation, winning plaudits in his first head chef role at glamorous, oligarch-funded Pushkin restaurant. After a few years there, feeling he needed to grow more, he moved to Prague, where he headed the Belle Vue restaurant. A stint at a five-star Relais and Chateaux hotel, Les Sources Des Alpes, followed.
And then came the phone call he’d been waiting for. “When Gordon called in spring 2014, I didn’t hesitate for one second.” Peled took up the reins at Ramsay’s latest opening, Le Pressoir d’Argent Gordon Ramsay, at the InterContinental Bordeaux - Le Grand Hotel, which now boasts two Michelin stars. “This is the first position where I really feel I need to be without even thinking about my next move,” says Peled.
His excitement for the role is palpable. “I’m in one of the best regions in France for foie gras, truffles, caviar and many fruits and vegetables. Around 95 percent of the food we serve comes from the local area. Even the fish comes from the water that day. I’m in direct touch with all of my suppliers - this is how it should be.” Like most nice Jewish boys, he cites his mother as one of the best chefs and a huge influence on his cooking. “She’s a strong woman - my greatest fan and my greatest critic. I arrived where I did because of two women – her and Clare Smyth.”
Peled’s advice to aspiring young chefs is, “In order to succeed you must work hard and push yourself all the time. Never stop learning, never slow down, never stop to dream and don’t take any shortcuts because you’ll regret it.”
Aiming to provide customers with a memorable and happy experience, guest chef Gilad Peled is excited to bring his classic Franco-British cuisine, influenced by new trends from around the world, to Restaurant Ikarus in Hangar-7 in February 2018.
ServusTV: Culinary Heights at Ikarus on ServusTV
Each month at Salzburg’s two Michelin-starred Restaurant Ikarus, a different top international chef creates the menu. For this globally unique concept, Hangar-7 executive chef Martin Klein visits the cream of the crop, takes a look behind the scenes of haute cuisine, and is let in on some exciting culinary secrets. “Culinary Heights at Ikarus” offers a unique glimpse into the world of high-end cuisine and provides an interesting portrait of each guest chef, their culinary philosophy, and the food culture of their country.