The clock struck twelve. Employees in SHL Medical’s main office in Taiwan filed into the 7th-floor canteen, forming queues while peering over the food-serving counters at the neatly assembled deliciousness fresh from the kitchen. Business hours for Paco’s Kitchen have begun. Out of Paco’s Kitchen came an assortment of main and side dishes that ranged from Asian- to Western-style cuisines. Also on the menu are noodle specialties that are usually first to sell out.
Paco – aka Patrick Sturbois, the executive chef of SHL’s catering service – is the mastermind behind SHL’s food culture. Born in France, raised in Spain, and having lived in Taiwan for more than 20 years, Patrick’s Mandarin flows so fluently locals would have no trouble striking up a conversation with him. His intercultural background shines through the creative cuisines he prepares, manifested in the harmoniously infused flavors of local tastes.
Different from his previous experiences as the chef of several gourmet restaurants in Taiwan, at SHL, Patrick must scale up the production to serve near 700 people. He insists on the freshest of ingredients while also giving attention to providing a well-balanced meal for SHL’s employees. “Serving 700 people is very different from serving 20,” Patrick said, “I need to figure out how to prepare a meal in large quantities and also ensure that it tastes good, stays within the budget, and adheres to food safety regulations.”
Working with the right people for the job is, of course, no small part in making this work. Patrick shows appreciation to the Catering Service department of about 15, naturally made up of mainly chefs, but also administrative staff and staff related to food safety. He explains how he values such a motivated team, most coming from five-star hotel backgrounds. “Although we’re a big-volume central kitchen, no one wants to serve the regular central-kitchen, one-type food,” he said.
“I’m focused on bringing good, well-balanced, quality food to SHL quarters in large volumes”
– Patrick Sturbois, Executive Chef
Patrick’s love for food and culinary art burgeoned at a young age. He recalls his childhood memories of experimenting with different cuisines for family and friends to try out. As expected, this childhood passion flourished into a lifelong profession. One day, his grandmother told him, “You will grow up to be a great chef.”
As one who puts high demands on himself in literally bringing the best to the table, Patrick spends much of his free time traveling to build knowledge on various local specialties. He enjoys exploring new tastes and flavors that help broaden his strong base of recipes. He believes that a good chef must be an eager explorer who loves to experiment with different flavors and food ingredients. Most importantly, he must never tire of tasting and trying: “It doesn’t matter if you’ve made a certain dish multiple times. You still need to taste it,” he said.
Patrick believes he would have become a great interior designer, architect, or even a painter if he had not pursued his passion for cooking. This stems from his love for creative work and broad interests in a variety of things. “I’m curious about almost everything,” Patrick said, smugly. As of right now, Patrick is focused on one thing, “Bringing good, well-balanced, quality food to SHL quarters in large volumes.”