Didier Quennouelle | Bord Eau

Describe your culinary philosophy...

My culinary philosophy is to follow the season for the best products in each moment.

 

How have your surroundings influenced your cuisine?

There were two renowned chefs who inspired me: Monsieur Leuranger and Monsieur Legendre, both from 3-starred Michelin restaurants. From them I learned the discipline, satisfaction to give only my best and to ensure the best quality to our guest.  

 

Will you be preparing any special dishes for Ramadan?

Seabass and Caviar Ocietra - homage to Mr Jacques Pic 1971 (***), Vollaille de Bresse et Grosse langoustine.

 

What are the three most invaluable ingredients in your kitchen?

Butter from Monsieur Bordier, fleur de sel de Guerande, and always searching for the exceptional quality of my food

 

Andy Toh Chye Siong | Hakkasan, Dubai

Describe your culinary philosophy...

At Hakkasan, we have employed a menu philosophy of telling the story of China through reviving and modernizing old recipes. In this, we strive to create unique dishes that are informed by an innovative approach, underpinned by authenticity rather than traditionalism.

From dishes such as the silver cod with Champagne and Chinese honey, sauteed scallops in XO sauce and the crispy duck salad, harmony is to key to everything we do. We are constantly reviewing our dishes and overall menu to ensure that we have the perfect balance of freshness and flavour. You can see from all our dishes that there is a strong emphasis on good quality ingredients and it’s important to treat them with respect to enhance the various flavours, colours and textures to let them shine on the plate.

Although Hakkasan is an internationally distinguished restaurant brand, we recognise the importance of reflecting local market demands and palette which is why, in addition to many of Hakkasan’s classic signature dishes, you will also see a number of dishes on our menu which have been created especially for Dubai.

 

How have your surroundings influenced your cuisine?

I started my culinary career at a young age back home in Malaysia, inspired by my mother’s home cooking which began my interest in cooking. Later, whilst indulging my passion for travel, I had the opportunity to cook overseas in places like Singapore, Taiwan, Thailand and Hong Kong, developing a lifelong love and appreciation of Asian cuisine which continues to influence me to this day.Working my way up through the industry for more than a decade, and having had exposure to cooking in many different countries, gave me a fantastic insight in best market practices which I have collected and analysed over the years and which now shape how I implement new and innovative ideas today.

 

Will you be preparing any special dishes for Ramadan?

Ramadan is a key part of life in Dubai and a time when we see a distinct shift in what our fasting guests are looking for from a dining experience. For this reason, we have launched a special Iftar menu (running alongside the al a carte menu), which reflects a more traditional approach to breaking the fast, whilst still being true to Hakkasan’s culinary philosophy.

For example, we start with a choice of soup, which is a very traditional dish at Iftar, not just because it adds variety to the table but also because it provides a light start to the meal, helps replenish fluids and gently prepares the digestive system for the rest of the meal after. Each of the dishes which follows is designed to offer a lightly balanced meal and the combination leans more towards a refreshing, sweet taste than spicy overtones.

 

What are the three most invaluable ingredients in your kitchen?

That is a very difficult question to answer because Cantonese cuisine is such a complex combination of flavours to achieve the perfect balance of salty, sweet, sour and bitter. For this, a number of store cupboard ingredients are essential, such as salt, pepper and sugar, as well as chilli. Beyond this, I would say my three most valuable ingredients are:

  • Flour: Specifically wheat and potato flour, which are used in nearly all kinds of dim sum
  • Jasmine rice: With a wonderful fragrant and aroma and delicious texture, this is a very important staple in Chinese cuisine
  • Corn oil: This is excellent for the Chinese style of cooking as it can withstand high temperatures without smoking. It’s also a lot healthier than many other types of oils.

 

Cladys Magagna | Fairmont Bab Al Bahr

Describe your culinary philosophy

My approach towards food in general has always been related to the ingredients. For me it’s important to have the best and finest ingredients to cook otherwise there is no point to invest all the effort for a dish that you know it will never be sensational because of the poor quality of the ingredients used.

This is also the base of the Mediterranean and Italian cuisine in general which is my background. If you have the right ingredients with incredible flavors then you can do less with them. The key is to concentrate on a few flavors when you cook. When you are using too many ingredients you end up not understanding what you’ve eaten.

 

How have your surroundings influenced your cuisine?

The most important influence is the season. Nowadays you basically can buy any fruit and vegetable 12 months a year because of the evolution of the food industry and the usage of genetically modified food by changing the DNA of that particular organism. If normally an apple has 7 days of shelf life by genetic modified it can last up to 5 weeks. To me it’s important to respect the mother nature, the cycle of seasonal ingredients, and always be on the search for the best supplier.

The other influence is the country in which I currently work in. I do change my cuisine style depending on the location and the demographics of the area. For instance, if I am working  in Asia its essential to offer on the menu a large variety of rice and if you are in Mexico an extra tough of chili pepper is always appreciated.

 

Will you be preparing any special dishes for Ramadan?

During Ramadan, we offer a variety of 250 different dishes daily; we cover all the basics of Arabic Cuisine with an international touch. The most important factor for us is to ensure that all our food is healthy, therefore we refrain from using MSG food and ingredients, trans fat and unhealthy ingredients in general. We focus on preparing dishes that maximize the use of nutrient-rich ingredients and minimized the use of process foods and ingredients with little or no nutritional value. We also commit ourselves to use local, organic and sustainable ingredients wherever possible. We really would like to make sure that our guests eat healthy while staying with us.

 

What are the three most invaluable ingredients in your kitchen?

Extra virgin olive oil; fresh garlic; Himalaya sea salt.

 

Yann Bernard Lejard | Plum

Describe your culinary philosophy...

From the simplest ingredient to the most expensive, just reveal the best side of it.

 

How have your surrounding influenced your cuisine?

Influence comes from the opportunity to meet people worldwide and from every single detail of life.

 

Will you be preparing any special dishes for Ramadan?

A selection of signature dishes with Bahraini influences. I share Plum’s creation plate for Ramadan, Lamb Harees, Chicken Label Rouge Madrobah.

 

What are the 3 most invaluable ingredients in your kitchen?

My team, my inspiration, and the Ritz Carlton experience.