With credentials that run into several pages to list it all here, Chef Thomas brings to the table his expertise of nearly four decades, as he travels widely in his insatiable hunger to gather more knowledge, experiences, and insights to help enhance culinary exposures for chefs and consumers alike.
For a man who has visited one hundred eighty-nine countries and speaks nine languages, from having cooked for Royalties & Heads of States, Government Officials, Famous Stars, Celebrities, & Sports Heroes to spearheading Special World Events; Chef Thomas is no less of a Celebrity and a Star figure himself.
Gugler is widely celebrated for his huge love for culinary and hospitality as is apparent from the names of prominent figures that have had a taste of his gourmet creations which include members of several Royal Families from the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, Kuwait, Jordan, Thailand, Sweden; also the Heads of States such as Vladimir Putin - Head of State of Russia, Narendra Modi - Prime Minister of India, Francois Mitterand - Former President of France, Gordon Brown - Former British Prime Minister; and super celebrities such as the King of Pop – Michael Jackson, Popstars Elton John and Madonna, just to name a few.
As far as his career in culinary goes, Gugler seems to have done it all — from working at Five & Seven-star properties to World Leading Hotels, gastronome restaurants, hospitals, airlines, mass catering, and teaching in universities as well. A very illustrious and a laureate journey indeed!
Born in Bavaria, Germany, Gugler chose his career at an age when most of us can only learn to walk. His great-grandmother who worked for the last Austro-Hungarian emperor had always wanted to be a chef. At the age of two, watching his grandmother and mother ardently cook, made him fall in love with cooking.
Growing up, Gugler took up apprenticeship opportunities around Germany and participated in several culinary competitions as well. With determination as a travel buddy, he proceeded to work in thirteen different countries including Greece, Thailand, Tunisia, Turkey, and Senegal across the spectrums of the food and beverage industry. That is how he also picked up fluency in the several languages that he speaks.
Years of globe-trotting later, Gugler returned to Bavaria where he opened four restaurant-cum-hotels and ran them successfully for seven years. However, his future lay in Saudi Arabia, this is where he to date has spent over seventeen years of his thirty-seven years of a long career, beginning with working for the Saudi Arabian Airlines as the Executive Chef, also investing ten years in meeting the gastronomic needs of the Royals, Top Government officials of the country and the visiting Heads of States & Dignitaries. During this time in the Saudi, he has also opened the only seven-star hospital in the Middle East & Africa and successfully managed it for over five years.
“To this day, I have travelled to around one hundred and eight nine countries around the world and I feel this profession is the best in the world. Culinary Art for me is amazing and it is like Nourishment and Medicine. I enjoy working with food and this is what has made me become a global leader of the Culinary Industry,” says Gugler.
Gugler is also a much-acclaimed Certified Category A Judge and a champion coach for the young & talented chefs with decades of experience judging in the Worldchefs Competitions, around the world. He is also a Certified Executive Master Chef who has won hundreds of medals and awards as well as tokens of appreciation the world over.
He is a member of seventy-eight Chef Associations around the world, including being the Executive Master Chef and Continental Director of the World Association of Chefs Societies (Worldchefs) for Africa and the Middle East and also the Co-founder of the Saudi Arabian Chef Association (SACA).
As the trainer of the German National Youth Team of chefs, he has been instrumental in helping teams win the Cooking Olympics and the World Championships several times over, and this in return gave him the opportunity to travel around the world to train other renowned national and regional teams. Gugler is intensely passionate about coaching young, talented chefs and travels extensively along with his teams, to take part in numerous cooking competitions around the world.
Not so long ago, he also collaborated with proclaimed Chef Sanjay Thakur, for Triyagyoni Chapter 2, an adventurous Pop-Up dining experience in the exotic Himalayas. This is a challenging event that involves trekking to a height of 21,000 feet above the mean sea level, something only for the most adventurous explorers and for food-lovers who wished to dine amidst the clouds in the breathtakingly majestic views of Mt Everest.
The spirit behind Triyagyoni was and is to promote homegrown ingredients and support the cause of Sustainability, not just in conferences & board rooms but in practicality and get across the point that if sustainable restaurants can be created at high altitudes amidst extreme conditions, then there is no reason that it cannot be implemented and executed on the ground.
Gugler was elected the President of WorldChefs for a four-year term at the WorldChefs Congress 2016 in Thessaloniki, Greece. He is in charge of one hundred and ten countries and leads well over Twelve Million chef-members from all around the globe.
“We work in the field of education, striving to support talent to help grow the hospitality sector in a proper way. We also organize cooking competitions worldwide, have launched certified educational programs and are attentive to cultural cooking and sustainability, additionally are also trying to build bridges between the commercial aspects of the business and the consumers”, said Gugler about his Presidency.
When asked about the challenges of being in such a position, he added, “There are several major challenges. One such is to unite all the chefs from around the globe and the other is to set and promote standards that apply internationally regardless of the location or region. It is absolutely important to enhance the training and education of young chefs everywhere. We need global standards in culinary schooling systems, giving attention both to the theoretical as well as hands-on practical training together.”
He believes that his travels have made him accessible to many of the interesting kitchens and cuisines around the world which are really worth the taste and definitely deserve to be promoted. Tourism, in his opinion, helps increase awareness and makes countries get proactive to a more professional and customer-oriented outlook.
Putting in his two ounces on the F&B trends, he certainly has noticed an extensive cross-over and fusion in cuisines. Alongside it, the retro and the traditional ways of cooking are also getting an uplift with the use of modern technology where the emphasis now is more on the taste and the flavors. The modern Molecular cuisine also brings in a bit of a cult and craziness to the platter, he chimes.
Another global upcoming trend he adds, is, of course, the awareness for healthy food and cooking techniques. Fast catching on is the Amazon and jungle products which are still pretty much unknown as foods that require less cooking serving as a healthy alternative to meat, thereby aiding in the much-needed sustainability factor.
“My personal view on this has always been amazing and great, as these days it is trendy and encouraging to become a Chef. It’s an awesome field and I think everyone who has the passion should go for it. I am very happy to see this trend grow, as when I first came to the region well over seventeen years ago, the profession was not very welcome and was not much appreciated for the young people either. Over time this perception has strongly changed and this makes me personally very proud and happy.”
On the same note, he encourages young girls & boys to go on and don the chef hat & apron, if that is what they really enjoy doing.
When asked for a few words of advice for the aspiring and up-coming chefs, Gugler said, “Always think positive for it is a fantastic field. Go your own way, value, and learn more about good food and cooking. Be enthusiastic, learn well, and learn more, sooner or later you will become an expert in the field.”
“The ongoing COVID 19 Pandemic has definitely got many of the young chefs to become worried and scared, but I am 100 percent confident that with the “POWER OF THE WHITE JACKET”, you will all overcome this situation and come back stronger than ever.”
Let's Stay In Touch