Christian Gradnitzer

Truly Visionary, Creative, and Multifaceted

Highly energetic, creative, and an adept culinary professional, Christian Gradnitzer, Senior Director F&B Development, Openings & Operations Middle East, Africa & Turkey, Hilton, is a true leader and mentor, who inspires vastly with his dynamic leadership and straightforward style of Management.

 

Counting the number of feathers in Christian’s hat is by no means an easy task. He has a wealth of experience along with a long list of awards and recognitions from international culinary competitions, enough to excite any food enthusiast and impress even the most discerning of critics. With over 25 years of experience, Christian’s success was borne not only of his natural creativity but much more from his deep commitment to providing excellent products and services to his guests. Translating his extraordinary love for the various cuisines and cultures, Christian has created a panorama of international flavors and food experiences for his guests to enjoy.

 

His Journey...

Raised in a family with a background in food, with his mother running a restaurant and father a farm, he grew up very well knowing how important the farm-to-table philosophy is, especially when it comes to sourcing ingredients and cooking fresh. This influenced him when traveling and working around the world, with his very first culinary endeavor in 1993, working as a Chef Apprentice in his native Austria at the Kurhotel Warmbaderhof.

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After three years of his apprenticeship, he then moved on to Switzerland, gaining experience which prepared him for greater roles in London at The Dorchester Hotel and at Cunard Cruise Lines. He later joined the much-coveted Burj Al Arab in Dubai, quickly progressing from the position of Chef de Cuisine to Executive Sous Chef, which then was followed by more dignified positions such as, Executive Chef, Resort Executive Chef, Group Culinary Director and Senior Director for prestigious properties including the Jumeirah Group, Dream Group, and Hilton.

In his 20 years of working in the Middle East, Christian has been a part of more than 50 successful F&B concepts. He is currently responsible for around 183 Hilton-operated Restaurants and Bars, and 37 Franchised Outlets, employing over 3000 people in the Middle East and also handling the strategic future F&B development for Hilton in the MEA market. 

Take on Training and Inspiration
 

According to Christian, it was his training back home in Austria that actually laid the strong foundations to everything he has learned in the world of culinary, starting from Classical French Cuisine to hands-on techniques in Baking, Butchery and Sausage making.

In his current role,  Christian focuses on creating and building a long term strategy of Desirable and relevant F&B offerings for the Hilton brands. He has also laid foundations for many new developments across MEA and has been actively involved in a number of sustainable programs to help reduce food and plastic waste.

According to Christian, “Farm-to-table and locally sourced ingredients are definitely a priority for him, in order to protect our environment as well as to cope with our ever-changing food habits.”

When asked for a few words of wisdom to inspire the people in the industry and also those upcoming in this space, “Be a Risk Taker, Be Confident and Follow Your Heart, Passion and Honestly Stay True to Yourself and Trust Your Own Instincts. F&B business is about how you make people feel good.  Dare to be Different and Stand Out”, said Christian.

Image Courtesy: Kitchen Rebel


“After my first five years of strong grouting in the industry, I embarked on my travels around the world and that is when my love for Nouvelle Cuisine was born. Learning to develop my own style by incorporating the styles and flavors from the various ethnicities and cultures that I encountered during my travels, have contributed greatly. Good food for me means the absolute perfection of flavors and composition, developed with passion.

I have had the honor to work with incredible restaurants, also created over 50 exciting restaurant concepts, all of which have been developed for a specific market”. 

 

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