Michelin-starred chef Roland Levy Schuller chats to Kristen Tadrous about taking over KEE Club’s kitchen and making it a bastion of all things organic.
Walk into KEE Club on a Friday evening, and you’ll be entranced by the east-meets-west atmosphere of the interior decor as you absorb the ambient live music. Like the crossroads of cultures capturing the essence of Hong Kong, KEE Club is a place for the worldly, where its members can consume the finest of arts, music, food, and lifestyle from all over the map.
For outsiders, it’s just an exclusive club. But to private members, KEE Club serves as a home away from home, a sanctuary from the whirlwind of city life. And what better way to stir up nostalgic feelings of home than through the flavors in the kitchen? Cue in Michelin-rated Executive Chef Roland Levy Schuller, whose arrival into the KEE Club scene a few months ago has transformed the overall dining experience to prompt this desired effect.
A world renowned cook, Chef Roland has made his culinary imprint in cities like Rome, Paris, Nice and now, the Far East. Hong Kong, a place of ephemeral delights, requires constant reinvention and creativity to stay relevant, to which Chef Roland responds by promoting food rich in nutritional benefits.
With a Chinese dim sum menu for lunch followed by a Modern European cuisine for dinner, dishes parallel KEE Club’s cosmopolitan vibe, but with a healthy spin.
Bringing in a taste of rustic fine dining is Chef Roland’s signature, emphasizing a remarkable quality over quantity (for instance, using organic tomatoes flown over from Sicily). Collaborating with his team of Chinese chefs and the organic vegetable distributor ecoFarm, he has raised the bar for other kitchens by sourcing the highest-grade organic elements for both menus.
Chef Roland’s talent ensures each bite is filled with an incomparable craftsmanship of textures and taste. Dim sum, Hong Kong’s ultimate comfort food, is MSG-free and includes organic vegetables, making it a sought-after meal by the health-conscious. The evening menu, which includes a fusion of Italian and Mediterranean dishes, is filled with seasonal features that will allow for changes every few months.
His inspiration to create derives from simplicity, his method is to focus on one staple ingredient and then developing a meal around it.
Like his ingredients, his plating techniques also mirror the changing seasons. Springtime overlays are colorful, while the summertime dishes include hints of fruit and summer vegetables. Stay tuned for next season’s coverings, which will be heavy on the mushrooms.
The transition to healthy dining didn’t happen overnight. Rather, it spawned as a result of Chef Roland’s own health deterioration a few years ago, a feat he overcame through eating organic foods.
Today, the chef is paying it forward by advocating firmly for organic consumption, a definite nod to today’s more health-conscious patrons. As he himself admits, “With the amount of attention that today’s chefs receive from the general public, we have a responsibility to help change people’s eating habits.”
In a city where food quality assurance is questionable at best, Chef Roland takes care of KEE members by sourcing food free from chemicals, which he isn’t afraid to say is a bit of a challenge in Hong Kong. “I feel very passionately about raising awareness about the benefits of organically grown ingredients and steering people away from genetically modified food or produce grown in soil with toxic residues.”
Although Chef Roland doesn’t have a favorite dish, he swears by tomatoes, an ideal component for its sweetness and acidity. Ask the KEE members what their favorite dish is, and most likely they’ll tell you about the linguine served with Canary Island red prawns, a rich and flavorful red prawn sauce, organic date tomatoes and dried capers from Southern Italy.
KEE Private Members Club Hong Kong
Address: 6/F, 32 Wellington Street, Central
Phone: +852 2810 9000