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Chef’s special

May 24, 2023 - Our chefs cook in waste-free, plastic-free kitchens, bursting with goodness. Rome’s Nadia Frisina, Ibiza’s Eyal Shani, and Oman’s David Plaschy and Chef Aon are also bursting with ideas and personality. It was fun getting under their whites.

When you mix the talents of chefs from iconic culinary cultures with a filling of our Eat With Six Senses philosophy and a topping of whatever is growing fresh in the fields around us, you’ll taste the magic in every mouthful.

Nature is the Mother of all forms of art

Sicilian-born Nadia Frisina brings her home favorites to Six Senses Rome, where she is the Executive Chef for BIVIUM Restaurant-Café-Bar and NOTOS Rooftop panorama terrace, which crowns the Palazzo. As you take a well-earned pause from Rome’s busy streets, she will transport you to aromatic Sicilian lemon gardens blessed with Etna’s rich volcanic soil and tangy tones of the Mediterranean Sea.

At the age of 29, Nadia became one of the youngest female Executive Chefs in Italy, working at several international venues before choosing Six Senses for its sustainability credentials. “Working in the hotel industry, you see a lot of waste. I want to do something different and contribute to change, at least inside my kitchen. Rather than just being a concept, I discovered that Eat With Six Senses is an entire philosophy, and it fits my values. It’s not just enough to buy organic vegetables. When I came to Rome, I spent months looking for local farmers who are responsible and authentic in how they care about their farm and community. They pick to order for me and deliver straight away, in reusable plastic-free packaging where Italian regulations allow. We compost here on site, and we preserve everything including our beef in beeswax instead of vacuum bags. Seasonality is paramount. Nature is the Mother of all forms of art. We must respect and celebrate her.”

As an Italian marketplace, BIVIUM Restaurant-Café-Bar is “the spot where all paths cross”, the buzzy beating heart of the hotel. It comes complete with a show kitchen and separate corners for gelato, bakery, coffee, and charcuterie. The Sapore (“taste”) traditional seafood counter serves ceviche with a strong Sicilian accent, from Nadia’s roots growing up in a fisherman’s village next to Catania. “BIVIUM is sensual, from the fire of the pizza oven to the ice in gelato corner, and the smell of the fresh bread.”

One of the first things Nadia did when she arrived was research ancient grains that are grown in the region. These produce a much lighter, higher quality dough for her pizzas and patisseries, with anti-bloating and anti-inflammatory benefits. She also avoids refined sugar and cereals. “We use beetroot sugar and date syrup. Our selection of cereal from the region pre-dates Ancient Rome and comes from Etruscan land.”

Within the Six Senses family, Nadia often shares and swaps techniques and recipes with other Executive Chefs and Corporate Food & Beverage Director Jonathan Heath, who leads the commitment to streamlining the farm-to-fork initiative. Is there anything new she has learned since joining? “Pickles! I’ve learned how to make a lot of pickles! I can turn 200 kilograms of veg into the jars of pickles you see behind me, and with zero waste.”

Finding true north

With a Michelin star nomination and 40 hotspots across the globe, charismatic Israeli Chef Eyal Shani’s latest culinary venture at Six Senses Ibiza – North – celebrates the island’s roots. It will emphasize local produce grown on the resort’s nearby farm and contemporary Israeli and Mediterranean cuisine. It will also include his signature creativity to delight his diners, from spring vegetables one night, to fish caught in the bay the next day.

“From the first moment I arrived on Ibiza, I understood two things. Firstly, locality, and baking bread with water from the bay or selecting fish from the boats in front of me. Secondly, closing the circle on the elements around us so we can be self-sustaining through our own farm. It concentrates the crystal and creates a precise line of beauty because everything belongs together. It is the meaning of real Ibiza.”

What Eyal has done is to go back to Ibiza’s roots and create something out of this raw inspiration and passion, “The North of Ibiza is a land of many treasures, and it takes time to understand it. My food is a translator. It takes complete commitment, from the fennel that grows wild to the sweetness of the shellfish, and of course the olive oil.”

When it first burst onto the restaurant scene in New York, Shani’s Naked Tomato caused quite a kerfuffle. He loves a tomato. But in Ibiza, his favorite tomato started as a seed from a wild, heirloom plant. And his co-star behind many of his fresh masterpieces is Kobi, the humble yet genius farmer and permaculturist at Six Senses Ibiza’s farm, who has nurtured this seed to grow something even Shani couldn’t believe was a tomato.

“Kobi is pioneering, and he has the magic touch to understand the soil and the seed. My tomatoes don’t need anything but salt from the rocks and a few drops of olive oil. The acidity is higher than a lemon and the sweetness is higher than a grape, and both are in total balance. So, you don’t need to embellish it or mask anything. That’s the difference between simplicity and purity. Simplicity is an external characteristic, maybe something is missing. Purity is internal truthfulness and clarity.”

The height of freshness and flavor

Flying high at 293 meters above the azure waters of the Gulf of Oman, Sense On The Edge at Six Senses Zighy Bay is a one-of-a-kind experience in every way. Originally from Switzerland, the resort’s multi-outlet Restaurant Manager David Plaschy has spent his career creating new concepts in an environmentally sustainable way, and he brings this inspiration and knowledge with him. He is joined by Head Chef Theerapat Thaima (Aon) from Thailand, who works his magic in the kitchen adding Asian-inspired influences to every dish.

Sense on the Edge is famous for its sunrise breakfasts and Asian dinners, including the five- or seven-course Japanese set menu that follows Kaiseki principles. Guests can stay as long as they like and be as private as they like. There has been an ‘I do’ or two from the Starlight and Moonlight tables, which are perched on private terraces above the restaurant, flanking it on both sides. Kaiseki dining is based on the Japanese principle of shun or taking ingredients at the peak of their freshness. “In the growing season, up to 90 percent of our produce is grown at our farm in Dibba,” says Chef Aon. “The farmer sends the list and I create the menus based on the pick of the day.”

Environmental responsibility runs through Six Senses Zighy Bay’s veins, with 80 percent of organic and glass waste recycled or upcycled on site, still and sparkling water bottled via reverse osmosis, a plastic ban, smart irrigation, and organic farming practices. It is not unusual to see the resort’s Director of Sustainability, Armand Thieblemont, up before dawn checking the (biodegradable) trash bag collection.

While the fish is sustainably sourced and sashimi-quality, for Chef Aon, the star of the show is the Kinoko, a textured mushroom dish that showcases all of the techniques of Japanese fine dining, including tempura, charcoal grill, and infused flavors. David loves the Hotate scallop, “It has a touch of Thai inspiration with the coconut and galangal. The presentation really wows the guests as they lift the shell; it’s a great way to start the meal.”

In terms of any dietary needs, David checks in with each guest’s GEM so that every ‘restriction’ can be accounted for. “In fact, at Six Senses Zighy Bay, you won’t find restriction. A lot of guests stay at Six Senses Zighy Bay for six nights or more and I like to think everyone leaves feeling so much better than when they arrived. We can cater to all allergies and requirements, but the food here is generally so clean and healthy, it supports our wellness programs and guests’ preferences without any issue.”

Which leads us to wonder, with Eat With Six Senses, what comes first: nutritious or delicious?

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