Ferrières Alumni Charbel El Hayek crowned “Top Chef” of the Middle East, 2022 

Feb 8, 2022 -

Once again, a Ferrières Alumni makes the headlines. From his very first steps in the kitchen to landing the “Top Chef” title of the Middle East, Charbel El Hayek takes us through the most remarkable stops of his cooking journey.

“Top Chef” is a popular show in the Middle East, known to test and prove a chef’s outstanding abilities in demanding culinary challenges and take their career to the next level. Charbel El Hayek surely did not fall short, proving to be highly skilled and talented at a young age. 

Competing with 15 other chefs from different regional countries, Charbel Hayek managed to come out on top, winning the 5th season of Top Chef Middle East 2022. 

Flashback to his early years in his home country Lebanon, the now 24-year-old chef grew up to the smell of his mother’s cooking – who happens to be a chef too. “She was my first instructor, my mentor,” recalls Charbel fondly. Guess the apple doesn’t fall far from the tree after all. 

In this one-on-one interview with us, Chef Charbel tells us all about his experience at Ecole Ferrières, school of Hospitality, Luxury, and Gastronomy. He explains how the highly recognized school significantly shifted the course of his career.

Ferrieres offers its students a versatile range of programs that meet their aspirations. It provides them with a unique educational experience, developing its courses through positive education, luxury codes, and overall well-being. 

As a school that upholds the highest standards of higher education, Ferrières is undoubtedly the preferred school of Hospitality Professionals.
Covering courses ranging from Pastry & Viennoiserie to all things Administration, the school guarantees a bright future to its Alumni, and Chef Charbel is no exception. 

“ It was an outstanding experience! My studies at Ecole Ferrières offered me a lot. Having the opportunity to study in such a rich, dynamic ecosystem that taught me all the rules and ethics of fine dining, gastronomy, and French cuisine at its finest was a blessing, to say the least”, declares 

Through Ecole Ferrières’s Cuisine course, the apprentice deepens his theoretical knowledge and practical skills in French cuisine. He learns how to interact efficiently with the other kitchen members of the team and customers in the dining room, learning to use adequate professional communication and to manage his time and energy, delivering superior performance.  

Charbel’s technique and audacity had already been congratulated by his head instructors, both dotted with exceptional career paths: Chef Romain Gourmoud and Chef Patrique Juhel (Best Craftsmen in France 2000). Practicing under their supervision during his studies allowed Charbel to gain all the tools and training, essential to rise above any kind of challenge, and was particularly key to his Top Chef success. 

“ The restaurant war was the biggest challenge in the Top Chef program. We had a limited time, somewhere between 20 and 30 minutes to present our dishes”, shares Charbel.

“The experience I gained at Le Chai restaurant taught me the speed and agility I needed to prepare and set up high-end dishes in a limited time. On the other hand, I learned how to maintain my cool under pressure thanks to my time at Le Baron restaurant. It taught me to be quieter, take my time at plating, and seek perfection all at once”, he adds as he explains how these assets helped him stay relaxed while plating and presenting impeccable dishes.

Le Chai and Le baron restaurants are both part of Ferrières’ on-site entities, other known as Ecosystem – one of the many qualities that set the school apart in the educational and hospitality sectors.
While Le Chai is a very popular restaurant with over 200 delectable plates on the menu and the most pleasant Bistrot feels, Le Baron offers a more luxurious, fine dining experience with its unmatched ambiance and scrumptious dishes.

Now, as Charbel has a lot to bring to the table, his future ambitions are no less than to open his own restaurants and to apply to the bigger, worldwide competition. 

“Nothing is impossible. If I can do it, you can do it too. You just have to believe in yourself and push beyond your limits”, assures the young, aspiring chef.

Looks like chef Charbel will be goofing off at more successful and impressive plans from now on. Ecole Ferrière wishes the Chef all the luck in his career path and hopes to see him back soon in Ferrières kitchens!