The allure of craftsmanship is timeless – but why? Mass production may have benefits such as consistency and reduced expenses, but there’s immeasurable value in a handmade product, a bespoke service, or the kind of knowledge that can come only from years of hands-on experience. That value holds true across time and across borders. UNESCO’s Living Human Treasures program, for example, honours exemplary bearers of living heritage, from oral traditions to social practices to traditional craftsmanship – heritage that “provides communities, groups and individuals with a sense of identity and continuity.”
That’s what makes a craft special: There’s a person behind it who cares deeply about what they’re creating and about sharing its significance with others. Artisanship is a window into another person’s joy, and often leads to interactions that add richness to our lives. The chefs, artists, mixologists, scientists and cultural experts of Four Seasons Hotels and Resorts know this, and warmly welcome guests to savour the sights, sounds, tastes and textures that they’ve spent years mastering. Their passions offer insights into their communities, enhancing guests’ travel experiences and creating impressions that will long outlast any standard souvenir.
How and when were you first inspired by mixology?
It was destiny. I used to play with syrups at my grandma’s house in France, mixing flavours into water.
What has been one of your more memorable creations?
When the parents of a frequent client visited from Venezuela, I created a cocktail inspired by the mother: ancho chile liqueur for her strength, rum for her sweetness, and cinnamon and saffron syrup for grandmotherly warmth. After I delivered it to her she cried, hugged me and said it was the most valuable gift and she could taste that it came from the heart.
Four Seasons Hotel Mexico City
What do you love to share with visitors about local traditions and nature?
Being a Masai and growing up in a traditional village, or boma, I have always lived in harmony within the rich ecosystem here. My culture teaches the beauty of nature: that the trees, mountains, rivers, lakes and wildlife rejuvenate the body and improve one’s mood and creativity.
What other cultural education projects have you worked on?
I’ve assisted researchers with archaeological digs at Olduvai Gorge, and recently contributed to an episode on the Masai for BBC’s History of Africa.
Four Seasons Safari Lodge Serengeti, Tanzania
Is there anything about your approach to food that surprises guests?
The intensity of some of the flavours I use can be surprising. I often focus on a specific ingredient, like coffee, for the bitterness it brings to a dish, and guests may not expect that.
How do guests influence your cooking?
A famous French philosopher told me there was a dish in my restaurant he didn’t understand—he thought it was missing something. Although I was upset to hear it, I agreed with him. I spent hours reworking the dish, and now it’s a guest favourite.
Four Seasons Hotel London at Ten Trinity Square
When were you first inspired to share your knowledge?
When I was in the military, I met a lot of people from different places who wanted to learn about Hawaii in depth. It started there, and I wanted to continue sharing the culture.
What do you personally love about Hawaiian culture?
The aloha says it all: a is for akahai, kindness expressed with tenderness; l is for lokahi, unity expressed by harmony; o, ‘olu‘olu, agreeableness expressed by pleasantness; h, ha‘aha‘a, humility expressed through modesty; and a, ahonui, patience expressed by perseverance. That’s aloha.
Four Seasons Resort Hualalai
What do you love about the art of carving?
Carving is part of Bali’s culture. Most of our inspiration comes from our folk stories, and no two pieces are the same because they come from the imagination of the artist. The beauty lies in the intricate details of each piece.
What is the most important idea you want guests to take away from their lesson in woodcarving?
Be courageous. Woodcarving is not rocket science, yet most people are afraid to try. There is no wrong or right, and a mistake can always be fixed. Just like other things in life, we simply have to take a risk.
Four Seasons Resort Bali at Jimbaran Bay
What drives you to share your passion with guests?
By teaching visitors more about the ocean and the diversity of its marine life – from its microscopic plankton to its largest residents, such as the whale shark – I want to create a lasting bond between our guests and our marine environment.
What is the key thing you want guests to experience?
I’d like them to see the natural beauty of the underwater world, and I’d like to wake people’s interest in and their awareness of the importance of the ocean, its coral reefs and its inhabitants – and inspire them to help us preserve it.
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