Rhys brings 16 years of culinary experience to his NOBU InterContinental Hong Kong. He has relocated to Hong Kong from London where he spent the past eleven years – with eight years of experience at Nobu Berkeley Street. Prior to that, he worked at Soho House London’s Electric Brasserie.
Originally from Auckland, New Zealand, he started his culinary career when he was just 15 years old in Queenstown, New Zealand, where he grew up. He first became interested in becoming a chef as a child when he would help his mother and grandmother cook. One of his first kitchen memories as a child was cooking a chicken dinner on his own for the first time for his family. To his dismay, no one ate his chicken, which was totally undercooked. However, this incident did not deter him from pursuing his culinary career.
Inspired by his sister and cousin who were both chefs, Rhys trained at the Auckland Hotel Chefs Training School and then moved to London where he worked at a few restaurants including Soho House’s Electric Brasserie. Then one day he went to dine at NOBU and that was it! He immediately knew that he wanted to work here. As per Rhys, “I was taken by the flavours, the ambiance, and just how smooth everything went.” Three years after he started working at NOBU Berkeley Street, he became Head Chef.
As part of the global Nobu culinary team, Rhys had a chance to cook at the 2018 Singapore Formula One NOBU Pop-Up in September 2018. Three of his dishes (King crab with apple yuzu kosho ponzu; Chilean sea bass wasabi lime miso and Wagyu with black garlic ponzu) are featured in the “World of Nobu” cookbook which launched in Fall 2018.
Commenting on his eight years with NOBU, he shares, “Nobu-san is truly an inspiration to all chefs who have had the pleasure of working with him. I think at NOBU we are lucky to use some of the most incredible ingredients on the planet. To me, the NOBU Style is simplicity with a touch of elegance, translating to food that is packed full of flavour. The dishes may look simple, but the process behind them is not.”
His culinary philosophy? As per Rhys, “Working at NOBU has made me understand that I should never over-complicate a dish, but let the ingredients speak for themselves. I like using the freshest ingredients, and at NOBU we’re lucky to be able to use the best ingredients from Japan and beyond. Within the NOBU style, I have the flexibility to be creative. I am constantly learning from NOBU Chefs around the world. We are always sharing recipes and learning from each other – like a family. “
His assignment at NOBU InterContinental Hong Kong marks his first time working in Asia. Commenting on his Hong Kong move, Rhys shares, “I have always loved Asian and Japanese cuisine. I am so excited to learn about and try new ingredients, flavours and tastes. It’s thrilling to be in the centre of Asia with such diversity of cuisine and especially in Hong Kong which is such a culinary hub, known for its extremely high quality.”