Executive Sous Chef Robert Chlopinski, of The Westin Doha Hotel & Spa, on a shock early memory and consoling the World Cup favourites.

What is your earliest food/kitchen memory?
It was in my apprenticeship in my home town. My former head chef told me that they got a call from a hunter who had a whole deer for us. My chef told me he had a surprise for me, so I could learn how to butcher the parts of a deer. When it was in front of me, I was a bit shocked and then, after a short time, I took my knives and started to cut the meat. At one point, I took a saw from our engineering team to cut some bones as the carcass was too big!

During your career you have participated in live radio and TV events. How do you think such exposure helps people understand the secrets of the culinary world?
A German TV channel approached our hotel in Dubai to ask if they could film me as they wanted to show how German chefs introduce our cuisine to different countries. They followed me for three days to show the daily routine in the kitchen as well as spoke to some of our guests to learn what they thought about German cuisine. This kind of exposure is useful for teaching people about different styles of food and cooking.

You catered for the Brazil national team during the Qatar World Cup 2022, please tell us about that experience – are there any special incidents you can share with our readers?
It’s always fantastic to be a part of such big events as the World Cup 2022 and that we had such a big team as the Brazilians made it even more memorable for us. There is not really an incident during their stay that stands out but I remember well their last game against Croatia. [Brazil were defeated and knocked out of the tournament.] The team came back to our hotel with their families and children and it was full of emotions in the restaurant as they had lost this game. It was such an unforgettable moment.

What is your signature dish?
I don’t really have a signature dish. I like to serve a board with charcuterie to my friends and family as this can be eaten as a snack or dinner. It makes the dinner less formal and, for me, it’s more a gathering point where everyone can meet to catch up or relax together. ✤