Wherever Chef Andrea Accordi Goes, Stars Just Seem to Follow

Koktail maps out chef Accordi's shining career, from a 14-year-old kitchen trainee to being the executive chef of Four Seasons hotels around the world

[This story originally appeared in Koktail Magazine issue 2.]

Chef Andrea Accordi’s list of star-studded experiences could very well be a book. His culinary journey up until his executive chef role at the stunning Four Seasons Hotel Bangkok at Chao Phraya River will impress any gourmand. Just a week prior to this interview, the hotel’s signature (and especially hot) restaurant, Yu Ting Yuan, welcomed its first Michelin star less than a year after opening, becoming the first and only Cantonese restaurant to receive the accolade in Thailand. Get to know the talent overseeing the success of this riverside haven’s F&B outlets.

Start Them Young

Chef Accordi came from a big family with six children, and it was a regular sight to see his darling mother in the kitchen every day from morning to evening. During his primary school years, he enjoyed cooking with her at home and started to “help” at restaurants during weekends. This was when his family saw that he genuinely had a passion for the culinary arts.

While university wasn’t part of his plan, his family insisted and suggested the idea of culinary school to him. “I wasn’t sure about it, but they just applied for me,” he laughs. “And it was on that first day of cooking with the teacher that I got really excited. I felt that it was something that I’d really love to pursue.”

He was around 14 years old when he started working as a trainee in a Michelin-starred restaurant called Concorde. “It was one of the most luxurious Italian fine dining destinations in the north of Italy. I was very young, and my father really pushed for them to hire me,” he reminisces. “Of course, I didn’t realise then that I was working alongside very amazing talents, but that place really kicked off my passion for cooking.”

Upon the closure of the restaurant, the entire staff had moved to London to work at a fine dining restaurant in a hotel. At the age of 16, straight out of cooking school, chef Accordi joined the team and later followed them to another standalone restaurant.

First Touch Down in the Land of Smiles

Three years in, the head chef of the restaurant visited Malaysia, and young Accordi was intrigued. He took a vacation in Penang, met his former colleague and expressed interest in working in Asia. A month later, the Regent Bangkok on Rajadamri—which later became the Four Seasons Hotel—called him and said they needed an Italian chef to do a two-week pasta promotion. He said yes.

The promotion was a success, and he sorely missed the city when he went back to London. “It was one of the most beautiful hotels in Bangkok at the time. I was also fascinated by Thai hospitality, the people and the difference in culture. Thai food became a great inspiration for me. I consider it a culinary revelation that helped me earn a lot of Michelin stars in the coming years.” Chef shares that he brought a lot of Thai influences into my dishes. “I learnt how to combine and balance a myriad of flavours, adding ingredients that were foreign to me—like tamarind—to create subtle but unique twists in my dishes.”

Eventually, chef Accordi returned for six months as a consultant to teach Italian cuisine. It was then that he was offered a position at Le Royal Meridien Phuket Yacht Club as the chef of the hotel’s Italian fine dining restaurant, Regatta. “I spent almost four years there and had a fantastic experience meeting very talented individuals and developing myself.”

A Starry Journey

Chef Accordi later spent a few years in Switzerland at Hotel Laudinella in St Moritz, taking the opportunity to learn how to manage a big hotel organisation as an executive chef. “Then I received the call of my life,” he tells us. “A journalist from Italy called to ask if I was interested in joining the opening of a boutique hotel in Florence.” He said yes and took part in opening the beautiful 80-room Villa La Vedetta in Michelangiolo. After seven months, its restaurant, Onice, received Florence’s first Michelin star. “That was a very important part of my career because working there really proved and improved myself.”

His first Four Seasons tenure was as the executive chef of Four Seasons Hotel Prague. The moment he arrived there, he started revamping the type of cuisines featured, bringing in fine dining and spending a lot of time in the kitchen. Then again, after seven months, the hotel achieved its first Michelin star for northeastern Europe. 

After a spell of opening Four Seasons Hotel Lion Palace St Petersburg, he moved to the Four Seasons in Hong Kong, a dream-come-true as he had previously spent two months there training in Chinese cuisine and really fell in love with the food. In 2019, a history-making moment happened when the hotel was awarded eight Michelin stars—the most stars found in a single hotel anywhere in the world, even until today. “It was another beautiful experience in my career. The three years spent there went by so fast.”


Chef Accordi, whose wife is Thai, was finally Bangkok-bound. “I was really looking forward to seeing how Four Seasons Hotel Bangkok at Chao Phraya River would come about. I applied and here I am,” shares the executive chef. While leading the hotel’s culinary team, he enjoys cooking at his restaurant, Riva del Fiume Ristorante, where he takes diners on a flavourful journey from the north to the south of Italy.

His team was graced with starry news when the hotel’s Cantonese restaurant, Yu Ting Yuan, was awarded one Michelin star in the 2022 guide. “We were very excited when we were invited to the press conference, but the moment when it was actually announced on stage was when it all felt real,” he shares. Due to the pandemic, chef Accordi and his team watched the live broadcast of the awards. “It was very emotional for the team, but it was likely more emotional for me to watch them. Unfortunately, we could only do a small get-together at the hotel so we’re waiting for the situation to get better to properly celebrate with a nice outing.”

Reaching the Stars

What does a star mean to a chef? “It motivates you to never stop and to do more. It gives you more excitement to further improve yourself,” says the accomplished chef. He believes that for a restaurant to receive a Michelin star or more, it should serve both high-quality products and a unique experience for the guest. “As for what happens inside the kitchen, I don’t think it’s necessary to serve complicated food. Simplicity is always the best.”

Receiving or maintaining a star is a challenge on its own, but doing so during a pandemic must be even more testing. Chef Accordi has a positive outlook on this. “As a chef, you’ve been given very valuable, quiet time to come up with new strategies on how to make things better. There’s no time to waste. We think of the next steps and really try to understand our guests and adapt to their changing behaviours,” he shares.

He sees the local dining scene as a fast-evolving one, giving shoutouts to young Thai chefs. “They’re doing great. They’re Thai and putting Thai food on the map, all while developing it too. It’s the same thing you do in other countries—offer unique experiences with your own cuisine.” 

Follow chef Andrea Accordi on Instagram @andrea.accordi for tasty updates from the kitchens of Four Seasons Hotel Bangkok at Chao Phraya River. While you’re at it, watch the heartwarming video he captured when the team was watching the live broadcast of Yu Ting Yuan’s Michelin star announcement.