Hippopotomus Head Chef Jiwon Do.

QT Wellington’s signature restaurant Hippopotamus farewells chef Laurent Loudeac after almost 11 years as executive chef. Citing time for a change and the desire for a new venture, Loudeac is excited about passing the reigns to Jiwon Do, a past senior sous chef he worked with for over four years.

Do was born in Korea and has spent the past 11 years living and working in Wellington including Hippopotamus from 2008-2013. He has won multiple awards in culinary arts in New Zealand and Korea, even training as World Skills Olympic player in Culinary Arts, representing Korea, when he worked in Seoul for the Hilton Hotel. Do specialises in a wide variety of cuisine but has a particular love of French, Mexican, Japanese and Korean food.

“I’m hugely excited to accept the executive chef position at Hippopotamus, it is a dream come true to follow in Laurent’s footsteps as well as a little nerve racking. I’m looking forward to working with QT Wellington and adding my own style to the menu in the coming months.

“I come from a family of five generations working in hospitality, it is in my blood and I love every minute of it. This heritage and passion have influenced my philosophy as a chef and I believe that when dining out it should always be about enjoyment and making people feel happy. That’s what I strive for.”

Loudeac is thrilled for Hippopotamus to welcome back Jiwon, but this time as its new executive chef. “He’s an incredibly hard worker and a very talented chef. I’d like to think that working for me has influenced some of his fine culinary skills. I certainly wish him and Hippopotamus all the best.”

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