Culinary Director Richard Ekkebus is way more than just an extraordinary chef. He is the kind of person who manages to keep control and deliver flawlessly in all ways thinkable when it comes to directing and steer a world class dining establishment. You have to master many more skills than just cooking if you ever dare to attempt trying something like Chef Ekkebus does every day.
Richard Ekkebus is the Director of Culinary Operations, but he is also the Food & Beverage Manager so he keeps strict control of everything from the daily supplies of ingredients to the role as a culinary leader and inspiration for all the members of his big team. Ekkebus is born in the Netherlands and his talent was soon discovered and nursed thanks to local top rated chefs like Hans Snijders and Robert Kranenborg. Later on he also worked briefly for some of the best chefs in Paris – Alain Passard, Guy Savoy and Pierre Gagnaire. Chef Ekkebus’ career continued with seven years as Executive Chef at the famous resort Royal Palm in Mauritius and later on The Sandy Lane in Barbados before he took on the same position at The Landmark Mandarin Oriental in Hong Kong in 2005.
Richard Ekkebus’ cooking style and technique are as French as they can be, but he has evolved from the traditional haute cuisine and cooks somewhat lighter dishes with a clear twist to make it even more interesting. He never uses anything but absolute top ingredients and he has full control of the origin of everything he orders in to the restaurant. The ingredients are flown in mostly from Europe every day, but there are also ingredients from Asia and Australasia. The Chef’s Kagoshima wagyu beef is amazing and the same goes for the wild venison. The pigeon comes from Bresse as you might expect and the salmon arrives from Tasmania. Ekkebus creates seasonal based menus and there can be special ingredients menus as well, like The Landmark Menu with black truffles in winter time.
Amber offers a complete experience including a breathtaking dining room with interiors made by the Transylvanian born architect Adam Tihany. Everything is stylish and lavish and the centrepiece is the combination of 4,320 golden tubes suspended from the ceiling forming an impressive installation you have to see on site. It can be a bit dark in the dining room, but it is atmospheric.
The whole team at Amber gives you an overall experience few other restaurants can match. It is everything, from the first hello and welcome to the very last goodbye. Few restaurants understand that the very first seconds of a dinner and the guest’s first impression can be the difference between a standard order and something extraordinary. Head Sommelier John Chan certainly knows everything worth knowing about all the many wines on display so treat yourself with something extra while you are at such a fine establishment as is Amber.
Written by Andy