New chef wows Rose Hill patrons

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Executive Chef Saif Rahman puts the finishing touches on the fourth course, Braised Short Rib, on Wednesday at Rose Hill Conference Center in Nashville.


Staff Writer

Sunday, October 21, 2018

A venue in the Twin Counties that hosts special events has recently hired a chef with international cooking experience to run its kitchen.

Saif Rahman has joined the Rose Hill Conference Center in Nashville as its new executive chef. 

He gave some local residents an opportunity to taste his cooking on Wednesday when he prepared some courses for a small group of business and community leaders and introduced them to his culinary skills.

The New York native holds an advanced placement culinary arts degree from Institut Paul Bocuse in Ecully, France. After he graduated in 2001, Rahman took a job as the commis chef at La Mere Brazier in Lyon, France, under chef Mathieu Viannay. 

After a two-year tenure, Rahman chose to broaden his perspective of food, culture and historical techniques from various parts of the world. He decided to travel and cook in countries including Mexico, India, Kenya, Morocco, Spain and Italy.

“I’ve worked in almost 11 countries and worked in some great places that have helped shape where I am as a chef,” Rahman said.

Since 2013, Rahman worked for restaurant groups such as LM Restaurant Group, Urban Food Group and 21C Museum Hotels.

During his time cooking in different countries, Rahman learned how to hone his craft under the tutelage of chef Jose Andres, who is credited with bringing the small plate dining concept to the United States.

Rahman worked as a development chef for Andres’ Think Food Group, where he was in charge of research and development of new menu items, creating new menus for the The Think Food Group restaurants in the Southeast. Rahman also was part of the development team for Andres’ World Central Kitchen, where he provided sustainable solutions for under-developed schools and orphanages in Haiti, South Africa and South America.

Rahman said he knew Rose Hill was the place for him when he interviewed for the executive chef position. He said he holds the Rose Hill Conference Center in high regard.

“Rose Hill is a beautiful place and it has an old soul that speaks to you,” Rahman said. “When I travel the world and look for work, I look for feelings, characteristics — and I look for a story. I already feel a very intimidate connection to this place. My past experience has helped me learn how to do so many different cooking methods, use different ingredients and different techniques.”

Walter Marrotta, general manager of Rose Hill, said he received a tremendous amount of resumes from chefs vying to become the new executive chef. As an experienced chef in his own right, Marrotta had an idea of what type of chef he was looking for and who would be the right fit. 

“I really like his background, passion and range of cuisines he has worked with and people he has worked with in different countries,” Marrotta said. “What I have seen over the years with the industry is because of the different techniques coming out, a lot of people really don’t know what they’re doing. They over-complicate dishes by putting ingredients together that really don’t belong on a dish. When he came to do his tasting, he had some pretty intricate techniques, but it was a very simplistic approach.

“In how I see Rose Hill, we are on the same page.”