Meet the Team: Executive Banquet Chef Aboubacar Kouyate
We take pride in the family-like feel of our diverse staff. Our “farm charm” philosophy starts with our amazing team of professionals, who represent different cultures and display an amazing work ethic to delight our customers with global cuisine and superior service.
This month, we feature executive chef Aboubacar Kouyate, who orchestrates our event experts to make sure everything is on point regarding food and displays for our larger-scale banquets, conferences and weddings.
Born and raised in Guinea, West Africa, chef “Abou” is self-taught and has become even more driven to achieve in his three years with Normandy Farm. His skills become evident in that “wow-factor” presentation, which is every bit as important as the taste of the productions he creates here at The Farm.
We asked chef Abou about his role within the Normandy Farm family.
We know you are in charge of banquets and other large events, but you have also taken on the role of team-building instructor in the kitchen. What is that about?
Team building at Normandy Farm and Blue Bell Country Club has been growing in popularity with corporations, small businesses and community organizations as a way for employees to learn about each other in an environment other than “the office.” It creates a relaxed and fun atmosphere while improving leadership and communication skills—not to mention the bonus of devouring their own hands-on “professionally” prepared dish.
I enjoy instructing our guests on food handling and preparation, kitchen safety and making it a fun way to learn. It's worth it when our guests smile and have a good time cooking. Food is an extension of cooperation. It works every time.
Do you have any specific challenges with your job at Normandy Farm?
There really are no big challenges that I can’t handle. To me, anything is possible and at Normandy Farm, that way of thinking is encouraged. As long as our guests are happy, then I am happy.
Why do you enjoy working at Normandy Farm?
What I enjoy the most about working here is that we are all family. Even though many of us are from different countries, we have the utmost respect for each other and for our different skills. Normandy Farm supports us in coming up with new ideas and different ways to approach things. How can that not be a good thing? I enjoy coming to work every day.
Where do you see yourself professionally in the next few years?
Wow, that’s a great question. I wasn’t permitted to be in the kitchen growing up in Guinea, but I remember wanting to be around food since I was about 5 years old. I have always seen myself as a chef and my path has led me here, by the grace of God. I’d love to eventually have my own restaurant, but for now, I am enjoying this journey.
What inspires you?
More like who inspires me. My dad put in a lot of work and sacrifice to raise me and the rest of my family. I have so much respect for him and how he makes the world a better place. He has always been my inspiration.
Thanks, Chef! We can't wait to see what the coming year has in store for you here at Normandy Farm.
Located just 25 minutes from Center City Philadelphia and situated in the heart of Blue Bell, Pa., Normandy Farm Hotel and Conference Center is more than a meticulously restored American landmark—it's a fully wired, high-tech hospitality venue. Relax on our grand terrace, sip a cocktail in America's oldest silo, play a challenging game of golf on our championship course, plan an event with us or dine on our delectable farm-to-table cuisine. It all adds up to One Historic Experience.