Sebastian Lorenzi cut his teeth in the kitchens of Grappa’s in Hong Kong where his mother worked as general manager. It was a far cry from the Michelin-starred kitchens to which he is now accustomed, having gone on to cook at two-starred Ristorante Uliassi in Italy, before returning to his home of Hong Kong where he joined three-starred L'Atelier De Joël Robuchon and then Seasons by Olivier Elzer. This was all after achieving his Grand Diplôme from Le Cordon Bleu in London, a city that drew him back after his stint with chef Elzer, this time to join the culinary team at Mandarin Oriental London’s Dinner by Heston Blumenthal. But he couldn't stay away from Hong Kong for long, and he soon returned, this time to work under Daniel Calvert at Belon before joining Arcane four years ago, first as sous chef and recently rising to take over from Michael Smith as chef de cuisine.
Who has been the biggest influence on you professionally to date?
Mauro Uliassi. I worked at his restaurant (Ristorante Uliassi) in Italy after I left culinary school, which was my first experience working at a Michelin-starred venue. He was an eccentric genius and I was and continue to be heavily inspired by him.
Which book do you think every chef should read?
The French Laundry Cookbook by Thomas Keller. I like how simple yet elegant the food looks; it has beautiful photography and the descriptions are so vivid. French Laundry is definitely top of my list to eat at if I ever go back to California.
Which chef would you most like to cook with, dead or alive?
Joël Robuchon. I saw him quite a few times working at L’Atelier, but he was never cooking. It would have been amazing to watch and cook with him during his heyday.
What is the best restaurant you have ever eaten at?
Very, very hard to choose, but one of my most memorable meals was at Chaat at the Rosewood. I really love the flavours of Indian food and for me, I think Chaat is the best Indian restaurant in Hong Kong. Internationally, The Ledbury in London was a very special experience.
What is your favourite food city or foodie travel destination?
I absolutely love the food in Barcelona—I could eat tapas all day, every day.
What ingredient can’t you live without?
Vadouvan masala—it has an amazing flavour and is very versatile. We almost always have some form of it on the menu at Arcane. Currently, we have vadouvan fried chickpeas on our set lunch menu, and also our rolled lamb dish is spiced with vadouvan.
It’s your last meal—what’s on the menu?
At the end of the day, I’m a simple guy—it would have to be a big juicy rib-eye with roast potatoes.