Symphony of Talents

…… and all this in one so young.

Whilst we were recently in Bangkok, Ms. Amanda Hyndman, General Manager of Mandarin Oriental, Bangkok, announced the promotion of Stefan Trepp to the position of their new Executive Chef. He succeeded the brilliant Chef Norbert Kostner who becomes the Hotel’s Culinary Director. I wish them well in their new endeavour.


Chef Stefan was born in 1979 in Switzerland. He started off on the long hard road of culinary excellence to become a Master Chef in Chur/Switzerland, where he studied for 3 years. He very quickly but steadily rose up in his profession by first working in some of the best hotels in Switzerland, before he embarked on his professional journey around the world to the USA, Dubai and the Philippines, where he was Chef de Cuisine of the Mandarin Oriental Manila.

He left Manila in 2007 and joined the Banyan Tree Phuket/Thailand as their Executive Sous Chef in September of that year.

 Chef Stefan is a highly innovative Chef who totally lives and breathes food – this is his all time consuming passion and his total dedication to his craft shows in the dishes he prepares for a highly sophisticated international clientele.

 In 2009 he joined the Mandarin Oriental Bangkok where he started working closely with the famous Chef Norbert Kostner, the then Executive Chef.

 Chef Stefan’s love clearly now belongs to South-East Asia – the places, the peoples, their custom and above all their unique cuisine.

He has an incredible talent for bringing edible art to your plate, but how can one ‘destroy’ such a beautiful ‘picture’ by actually eating it – a good and valid question and the answer is simple – only with a heavy heart! After all nobody likes to destroy beauty.


With Valentine’s Day not too far away, he created a most delightful Appetizer for me and for you, my friends, and he named it:

Steamed Blue River Prawns

Young Vegetables, greens and Mango

Virgin olive oil and Thai lemon dressing


12 pc or 1 kg Blue River Prawns

0.2 kg leek

0.1 kg Carrots

Half a piece of Fennel

Half Onion

Salt and Pepper to taste

2 pc Small Radish, whole, washed

1 pc Carrots, peeled and washed

0.2 kg Fresh Pea in pod washed

1 pc Beetroot whole, unpeeled

0.1 kg Green pea sprouts

8 pc kg Cress flower

8 pc Eatable Nasturtium flowers

0.2     lit Virgin Olive Oil

0.1 lit White wine vinegar

2pc Thai green Lemon juice

Salt and pepper to taste

Method for the Blue River Prawns:

Bring a large pot of water to boil and season with salt and pepper.

Add diced leek, carrots, fennel and onion and boil for 5 minutes.

Reduce heat below boiling point and add Blue River Prawns, simmer gently for 4 minutes.

Allow the Prawns to cool in the cooking liquid.

When cold take out of the water and peel off the shell.

Method for the Vegetables:

Wash and peel carrots and slice into thin long slices.

Boil carrots for 30 seconds in seasoned water. Remove from heat and place in ice cold water to cool.

Roll carrots and set aside until needed for plating.

Wash beetroot and boil in water ca 15-20 minutes or until soft.

Allow beetroot to cool in the cooking liquid.

When cold remove from liquid, peel and slice into thin rounds. Use

a cutter for desired shape and size.

Set beetroot aside until needed for plating.

Slice raw radish into thin disk and set aside until needed for plating.

Add green peas in boiling and well seasoned water until crunchy.

Remove from boiling water and cool in ice water.

When cold peel peas and set aside together with the rest of vegetables.

Mix olive oil, lemon juice and white wine vinegar to a dressing, season with salt and pepper.


For the plating:

Cut Prawns into 3 medium size pieces and gently place on the outer left side of a round plate.

Add the vegetables in between of the Prawns; add eatable Nasturtium flowers, green pea sprouts and cress flower.

Before serving, drizzle vinaigrette carefully over the prawn, vegetables and flowers and add fresh Mango dices.

Tip: This dish can be prepared one day in advance and be plated on the day after or when needed.


(Photos: Manningtree Archive)


7 thoughts on “Symphony of Talents

  1. Hi Carina, Such a good article (and photo) on Stefan. Thank you. My gratitude as well for the book you sent about Kerala. I have always been fascinated by this part of India and have been wanting to visit for so long. Your blog posts on the area has heightened my interest even more. Thanks again – ANA 🙂

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