Sofitel Legend Metropole Hanoi has named Australian Paul Smart as the hotel’s new executive chef. Prior to joining the landmark Hanoi property, Smart was the executive chef at SO Sofitel Bangkok for five years, where he was crowned winner of the Iron Chef Thailand TV program in 2012 and 2013.
As the hotel’s new executive chef, Smart will oversee operations at the French restaurant, Le Beaulieu; Vietnamese restaurant, Spices Garden; Italian eatery, Angelina; and in the hotel’s three bars, Bamboo Bar, La Terasse, and at the newly revamped, Le Club.
The Adelaide-native, who has worked in some of the world’s top kitchens on three continents, brings more than two decades of culinary experience to the historical property.
“Food is not only my career, it’s my passion,” said 37-year-old Smart, who succeeds Nicholas Shadbolt as executive chef of the 364-room French colonial-style property. “I look forward to continuing my journey at the Metropole and collaborating with the team here to take the hotel’s cuisine to new heights.”
Smart began his career at Stamford Plaza Hotel in Australia, spending nearly eight years learning and developing within the group. In 2005, he moved to the UK to earn his chef stripes at The Ritz London, where he worked alongside Michelin-starred executive chef John Williams and head chef Fred Forrester.
During his time in the UK, Smart cooked for HRH Queen Elizabeth II, and won the UK Commis Chef of the Year award at the Academy of Culinary Arts in 2007. He also worked with the acclaimed chefs of El Bulli, which was voted Best Restaurant in the World, from 2006 until 2009.
In 2007, Smart moved back to Australia to work as chef de cuisine at Sofitel Gold Coast, where he played a pivotal role in the multi-award-winning restaurant Room 81. While at Sofitel Gold Coast, he took home the gold medal no less than three times for the Gold Box Restaurant Challenge — in 2007, 2008 and 2009.
In 2012, Smart relocated to Asia to command the kitchens at SO Sofitel Bangkok, where he was also featured twice, as a winning challenger on Iron Chef Thailand, in 2012 and 2013.