Biography of the Chef
Culinary Director / Owner / GM
The Forest Lodge Resort
After work experience stages in commercial kitchens, at the age of 13 and 14 year, Ingo Maass took his first catering position with 16 years as an apprentice chef in a traditional German Restaurant located in the Town hall in Kiel, Germany. Restaurant Friesenhof specialised in the regional German cuisine and international specialities set in a rustic north-German décor.
Having always known that cooking was his destiny, Ingo started his first apprenticeship at the age of 16. After finishing his apprenticeship with the highest marks possible he quickly moved on to work in Munich at the Best Seafood Restaurant in germany “Hunsingers “, led by Werner Hunsinger. Here, working as the only German chef in a brigade of French Chefs, Ingo developed his love of fine dining and high quality food.
With a desire to gain international experience at age of 19 he bought a one-way ticket to Singapore to research Asian cuisine, moved on to Sydney and his fortitude was honoured by securing a position as Chef de Party in the Hyatt hotel in Dubai, in June 1990.
Only nine months into this job, Ingo was promoted to Chef de cuisine, at the age of 20, this made him the youngest Chef de Cuisine of an international five-star hotel World Wide. In charge of two restaurants, the fine dining restaurant "Jasons" and the Buffet Restaurant "Al Dawar" and western banqueting there was not much time to spare other than just work, learn and teach.
Two years in this structured environment, where teamwork, precision and uncompromising standards were essential, proved a valuable lesson in both culinary skill and management techniques.
After working with an international mix of people and large quantities, Ingo was keen to travel further a field, where the different tastes and styles of cooking would not only provide a new challenge but also further broaden his culinary knowledge.
He believed that France should be on the CV of every chef. And so, with no contacts and plenty of good hope, he arrived in Paris. He decided that Bordeaux would be best for him to gain not only great insight into the French Cuisine, but also into the wine region. He started with Jean Marie Amat who at the time was the best chef in the South west with 19,5 points in Geault Milleau and 2 Michelin Stars, the food in his 3 restaurants were varied and creative, ranging from far eastern to north African influence.
Dream accomplished he returned back to the big hotels and larger operations.
He started in Jakarta at the award-winning "Hyatt Aryaduta" as Chef de Cuisine in charge of the "Tavern" and the "Terratai Café". And soon after was the assistant to the Executive Chef. The work in Indonesia gave him a further insight into the Asian cuisine and the Indonesian Culture.
It is in Jakarta Ingo has launched the First ever Australian Food Promotion held in the Country. Introducing a large variety of Australian Products to Indonesia and Jakarta, including speciality meats like Kangaroo, Emu, Ostridge, Crocodile and many different Bush-takka spices.
Also launching the first ever Middle eastern food promotion in Indonesia and celebrating Ramadan with Middle eastern food in Jakarta were big achievements and very successful. Until today there are now regular Middle Eastern events held all over Jakarta, especially during Ramadan.
Korea was next. The Shilla Hotel one of the best 30 Hotels in the World, and the Flag ship Hotel in Korea, with its 200 Chefs, was a great challenge and a different learning experience all together. At 26, Ingo found himself working as Executive Sous Chef going through a large renovation, re-opening and opening of new restaurants and bars, such as the Bice Restaurant (an international acclaimed Italian Restaurant Chain.) It is here also where he had the Chance to help Chef Alain Sanderance to implement his 3 star Micheline Menu at the Fine dining Restaurant of the Shilla Hotel. As the Asian Financial Crisis hit Korea Ingo moved on back to Dubai.
There Ingo joined the team at the InterContinental Hotel as Exec Sous Chef to the Regional Executive Chef Uwe Micheel and President of the Culinary Guild. At that time the Hotel was voted as the Best Food and Beverage Operation worldwide. It was a tough stepping stone that made him ready for any coming challenge. During his time there he had several great culinary experiences; organizing a 800-pax dinner in a tent for the opening of the Sharjah University, being part of the organizing committee of the ‘Longest Cake on Earth’, opening the first fashion restaurant in Dubai, La Moda restaurant, and many more.
Ready for the ultimate challenge, Ingo moved on to become the first expatriate chef to arrive in Algeria, with his family and cargo.
His first job: opening a deluxe five-star hotel with the All Africa Nation Conference hosting 52 Presidents and 92 Ministers all in the same hotel.
This was followed by opening seven restaurants, large banqueting and catering facilities, and a State conference centre “Palet de Nation”.
The Sheraton Clup des Pins in Algers was bringing a new dimension of Culinary and Hospitality experience to the Country, and it developed to become the Culinary training Center for Algeria.
Organising the importation of ingredients needed several trips to Italy, France, Spain and Morocco. “To open this hotel I needed to think different, act different, and to think out of the Box to be able to achieve the necessary results,” Ingo says. The quality and culinary excellence achieved in Algiers made him well known all over the country. He and his team proved that modern, high quality food could be produced on a large scale without compromising standards even under the most difficult circumstances.
After 18 months he was promoted to F&B Director, in Charge of 450 employees and an average of 1500 guests a day. Being F&B was a great experience and very rewarding.
Under Ingo’s Guidance the Hotel went from opening to become the highest revenue generator Sheraton Middle East, Europe and Africa just in 3 Years.
After three years in Algeria, Ingo could not resist when he was offered a position back in Dubai. The JW Marriott Dubai felt very good. From the first step into the lobby he knew that he would enjoy working in such a beautiful place. The restaurants represented all the places that he has worked in for the last 14 years, providing the perfect recipe for success.
After only one year with Marriott, Ingo was voted as one of the best three Chefs world wide in 2002. A year later, Ingo was voted Chef of the Year 2003, best chef of Marriott Worldwide; an award which is not only given for creativity, but also for managing, and developing a team, being recognised by the guests, and in the market. As the youngest chef ever and the only one ever to be selected twice for this award, he made his mark in the Marriott company right from the start.
Since Ingo joined the JW Marriott Dubai the hotel has received several awards of excellence from various magazines and institutions.
Top ten restaurants in U.A.E. for JW Steak House by grumpy gourmet magazine in 2003/04.
World Junior chefs challenge Dublin 2004- Winners overall – Gold medal
Favourite Arabic restaurant for Mays el ‘Reem, by What’s on magazine 2002
Favourite Restaurant Dubai Chef’s Choice by What’s on Magazine 2002
Favourite Arabic Restaurant Awafi by What’s on Magazine 2003
Best Catering and Event Hotel Middle east 2001 and 2002
Best Restaurant Concept for Bamboo Lagoon 2001
Favourite Ten Restaurant in Dubai for Market Place 2004 by City Times
Several Medals for his team during the cooking competitions over the last years
Ingo has been the subject of numerous write-ups in international and local magazines,
He and his team participated in a TV cooking program which ran for two years on Dubai TV, six days a week, showcasing international cuisine from around the world.
Weekly radio shows and many cooking demonstrations have helped to uplift the image of the JW Marriott kitchen team even further.
Ingo also had appearance on German TV on several occasions.
Throughout his career, food has not only been his job but also his passion, which is why Ingo has received many awards. His desire to constantly evolve and continue to learn and share this knowledge with his team, drives him to spend much of his precious free time working with his colleagues and Chefs to create, observe, teach and develop new ideas.
In the book “Culinary Arabia” released in Germany 2002, he was acclaimed to be the most talented chef and the creator of the New Arabian Cuisine which combines Arabian flavours with western cooking techniques.
In 2006 Chef Ingo finalized his dream of writing a book on modern middle eastern cuisine, and endeavour he had since first arriving in Dubai 1990, together with his team of Chefs and a very talented Photopaper he created the Culinary Book “ New Arabian Cuisine “ Not only a Recipe Book but a story telling and educational book about the regions and the evolvment of the Cuisine and the Book. The Book has since received 5 Awards, Best Foreign cook book in the World, one of the best 10 books in 2006, the Best Foreign cook Book in the world for the last 12 years ( best of the Best) One of the 100 best Culinary Books ever produced. Award by the German Culinary Book association.
The newly created Cooking style has created a lot of international attention and Articles around the world described the “New Trend” as a perfect blend of Middle eastern and European cooking combined. New York Times, Zurich Abendblatt, Frankfurter Algemeine, Kieler Nachrichten, Kairo Times, Jeddah, times, and many from page Magazine articles in the Middle eastern Media have helped to Promote the JW Marriott beyond the Borders. Book Launches in Kairo and Frankfurt as well as introducing the New Arabian Cuisine into First and Business class with Lufthansa, Guest Chef appearances on Deluxe Cruise liners, Chain De rotisseur dinners and many more events followed and brought a lot of Business to JW Dubai and a world wide media and PR boost estimated at $5million value, has promoted the entire Marriott Chain.
He believes strongly that a kitchen is a learning environment, providing extensive training opportunities through individual programmes and cross exposure. He has introduced new menus, which are innovative yet customer focused, and sourced quality products from all over the world to increase the overall standard of cuisine. His achievements are reflected in the recognition the hotel’s restaurants have received.
In his position as Vice President of the Culinary Guild he had the chance to represent the UAE in South Africa during the World Chefs Tour for Hunger 2003 and more recently attended the World Chefs Congress in Dublin where he and his colleagues secured for the next World Congress to be held in Dubai in 2008. In 2005 he represented the UAE during the Black Box live cooking competition finals in Brisbane.
Since arriving in Sydney at the age of 19 Chef Ingo has always had a love for the Country down under and for its fresh and Natural Products. So during his time at the JW he has organized 2 mayor Australian Food Promotions during which he introduced many new ingredients for the first time into Dubai and the Region this including a range of products from Maggie Beer. The Tasmanin Food Promotion and the Australian Food Promotion has helped Australian Producers to increase their export to Dubai by more than $10 million additional revenue per year. For this Effort Ingo was recognized by the Australian Trade Commission the MLA, Tasmanian Government and Individual Companies.
Chef Ingo is sharing his knowledge with his team and others and therefore he has taken the lead to be the Coordinating “Host Chef” of the MLA Blackbox Competition from 2003 to 2006. Hosting and Promoting the event in the entire Middle east region.
After 6 wonderful and successful Years with the JW Marriott in Dubai, Chef Ingo was approached to take on a Corporate Executive Chef Job for a newly founded Hotel Group called Tiara.
The Opening of an entire Hotel Group which was meant to rival the Jumeirah Group and other internationally acclaimed Groups was a challenge ingo was happy to take on.
With the first Hotel to be in a prime spot on the Palm Jumeirah and the second hotel under construction on Sheik Zaeed Road it was a promising career move.
During the time ingo worked on the conceptionalisation of 4 hotels and a restaurant village, all in all 32 Restaurants, Lounges and Bars, night Clubs. Pushing the boundaries of Creativity and building a team of Chefs from 42 Nationalities. Developing Culinary Guidelines and the Policy and Procedure for the entire group. Designing and supervising the building of all kitchens for the Group.
2008 Financial Crises made an end to the Company and to the dreams of many Chefs and Employees that were already on Board. The Tiara group went bankrupt and closed in a matter of month.
The Salam Group of Doha was in great shape at this time and hired Ingo as Corporate F&B and Culinary Director for the Development of Salam Hospitality. A new Division in the Salama Group of Companies.
During the 3 Years with the Company Ingo has designed and developed several Restaurant and Kitchen Concepts, assisted the opening of the Apartment Hotel on the Pear Doha, and in particular created an Award winning Live Cooking Concept Gourmet Food Court with 16 live cooking stations. The Eatopia at the Gate Doha, is one of ingos master pieces and was voted as the best New Concept Restaurant in Doha offering unparalleled dining experience and a complete new Trend for Quatar. #eatopiadohathegate
After many years of waiting and planning for the right moment to make the move to Australian in 2012 it was finaly the right window of Opportunity and Chef ingo and his family moved to Sydney to join the Urban Purveyor Group of restaurants where Ingo was in charge of the Bavarian Beer Cafes, The Loewenbraeu and in part of the opening of the newly established Food Factory that was to become the back bone of the Restaurant Chain.
As the largest Restaurant Group in Australia the 52Million operation was in need for a complete Menu revamp and a standardisation of the restaurants to ensure guests all over all Beer Caffe’s would get the same experience.
After implementing a Full New menu Concept Folder and training the Team to deliver the New Menu the economic down turn in Sydney let to the early departure of Chef Ingo and the Move to Western Australian, the most favoured area by Chef Ingo and his Family.
The Bunbury Farmers Market was calling, and it needed the Help to get the transition done from an old small Market to the jump into the 21st century. Developing an entire new Concept of Market, Tasting Experience, food Production, Juice Bar , Coffee Shop, Butchery and Pastry Production, Salad and Shushi Line as well as ready to eat Meals.
Working with ingredients straight of the Farm and developing a Shopping experience that combines Retail with Restaurant was a very exciting time and the Farmers Market has been taken on by storm from the day it opened in 2013. It is now as well-established Icon of Bunbury and the entire South West, going from strength to strength. A Unique Concept that has no second in the world.
Chef Ingo’s Previous experience in designing Food Concepts and Retail Concepts has given the Market and distinctive difference that is difficult to copy.
Mission Accomplished Chef ingo ventured back to a bigger City in a F&B Director Roll.
The Novotel, Perth 3rd Biggest Operation was Ingo’s next place of action where he oversaw the renovation of the Finians Irish Pub, and the redevelopment of the entire F&B Offering, In a down turning Market, streamlining all operations and revamping the F&B Offerings.
Once a Chef Always a Chef and Ingo’s heart was drawn to go back into the kitchens to join one of the most prestigious F&B operations in WA. The Caversham House in Caversham.
Famous for top Class functions and Weddings it was looking for a new culinary trend and the Uplift of the Culinary offerings.
During the time at the Caversham house Chef Ingo re-worked all Menu offering, upgraded the Presentations, improved the kitchen set up, and brought the Caversham house 2 Gold Plates Awards and the entry of the Hall Of Fame of Gold Plates.
Working with ingredients straight from the farm and the producer was also a very important aspect and with Ingo’s help the ingredients list of WA produces was increased by large and homemade products and ingredients were used to the maximum.
One and a half years and 65000 guests later another very big step was waiting for Ingo and his Family
The Forest Lodge Resort in Pemberton
Working in the Hospitality field it is not always easy to combine Family and free time. So after a year of not sharing the same time off with his Wife Cirstin they finally got onto a weekend off together exploring the beautiful south an a hunt for truffles. The Manjimup Truffle Kerfuffle was calling and by chance Family Maass stayed overnight at the Forest Lodge Resort. Not knowing that the Hotel was for sale, Ingo complemented the Owner on the beautiful spot and mentioned that they would love to run a place similar like this in future.
Taken by surprise the Current owner mentioned that the Forest Lodge is for sale………….
A year Later Family Maass has taken on the ultimate step out of comfort zone into becoming Business Owners and taking charge of “The Forest Lodge Resort Pemberton” a boutique Hotel with a variety of accommodation offers, a restaurant, Lounge and Bare, a Biergarden & Terrace. An ideal location for weddings and any celebration or Conference- workshop, combining Accommodation and fine food and Beverage Offerings.
A year into the project, many upgrades have been achieved in service, facility quality and offerings but also in ecologically improving the Lodge, with Garbage segregation, composting, Solar instalments, water collection Garden and irrigation upgrades and much more.
Please visit us at social media:@theforestlodgeresort www.forestlodgeresort.com.au
The Forest Lodge is ideal for Nature Lovers, rest and relaxation, sports people, music groups etc. The spacious grounds give a lot of possibilities for all sorts of activities.
The FLR is rated number one on trip advisor for the region and aims to continuously upgrade its standard. Creating a smooth and unparalleled experience to their customers.
Chef Ingo has started to work in close relationship with the South West Development Department, the Eat West Eat Best and the Southern Forest Food Council to promote the Forest Food and the natural products from the South.
Be happy and “Keep it Cooking’’