Sea Executive Suites is one of those hotels you will always remember favorably.
The food is flawless, the rooms are of an outstanding quality but most importantly the unique staff brings the hotel to life.
Interviewing some of the delightful staff members on how they feel about the hotel, their job and life in general gave me real insight into what is so unique about this Tel Aviv Hotel.
Underneath are exerts from my interview with Tal, the head Chef, a charming young Tel Avivian with a hunger for the best things in life: food, the beach and adventure.
Tal Donal, Head Chef at Sea Executive Suites:
So Tal, Why food? What got you interested in becoming a Chef?
That’s a good question, I guess it was my childhood. I know it from my home, where I grew up. There was always food being prepared in my mother’s kitchen. She was a chef and a pastry chef. My home was one were we bought less ready-made food and made more.
I used to help her cook meals from a young age and I loved getting involved. I was her little chef in the kitchen; I made lunches, dinners, whatever was needed. This really pulled me towards becoming a chef, that and my love of food. I just feel at home in the kitchen. I wanted to make cooking my life because I love it, I’m really good at it and it’s where I belong.
Where do you come from?
I’m Tel Avivi, through and through and trust me; there is no better place to live. I grew up near the beach and it’s really a part of who I am. I live in Jaffa and it’s a great hub of flavors, people and food. My favorite place has got to be Kerem Hateminim, it’s in South Tel Aviv and really the best people live there, so it makes the whole place warmer and a lot more fun.
So what do you love most about Tel Aviv?
Everything is ok here, everything is possible. There are so many opportunities for everyone. It’s one of the most open and welcoming places in the world where you feel you can do anything and every single day is exciting. It’s the most modern, warm place in the world. You can always be learning and as a Chef that’s my nature - to crave more knowledge. Also I have a huge appreciation for food markets because it’s where you can source your flavors. The ones in Tel Aviv and Jaffa are the best in the world.
So where did you start your career?
I was in a boy’s boarding school and part of staying out of trouble meant taking a job so I started in the “Brasserie” in Tel Aviv. I was 15 years old. I was there a year and a half and then I took a job at the “Dixie” so I was working in the morning in the Brasserie and at the Dixie in the night. Ha ha, yeah, it’s hard being a cook sometimes. I was there a year. Then I started to work in the world of Coffee shops which is where I gained my knowledge about different ways to create breakfasts and lunches.
sea executive suites stuff
Which meal do you prefer making?
My passion is Buffets, which really is very connected to Breakfast. Breakfast is basically Buffets in Israel, especially at the Hotel. Firstly you get to showcase what you can do and also I get a lot of encouragement by the fact that people really love my breakfasts. I really prefer this to “fine dining.”
How do you get to work?
I have an electric bike; I come from Jaffa at 4.45 in the morning. That’s dedication That’s being a chef.
Ha ha So what do you like about Sea Executive Suites?
The hotel is small and gives a fantastic service to the individual client. We don’t distinguish between types of guests and I personally can build up friendships with the guests. It’s not a hotel of 400 guests so you can make a real personal connection. It also means that if a guest has certain preferences and he prefers his food done this way or that, I can actually do it the way he wants. A huge part of being a Chef is making people happy, it’s what we live for and the ability to indulge individual guests is something that I can do at Sea Executive Suites. It’s very hard to find that anywhere else. Here I can actually speak with guests, I’m in the front. It’s really unique. When I cook for you, it’s like you are a guest in my home and I want you to have the best. You are my guest in my home by the sea.