What would you consider your greatest strengths as a chef?
I would say my greatest strength is my knowledge and experience in the kitchen. The first time stepped foot in a kitchen, I was only 15. I attended a hospitality school during the day and, in the evenings, I worked. I then decided to move to London, where I lived for almost seven years. It was there that I met and worked with great chefs and learnt most of what I know now.
How would you describe Dubai’s food scene?
It exceeds expectations. There is huge competition, which forces you to improve and try to be one step ahead of everyone else. The demand in terms of the quality of the food — and the research that goes into it — is impressive.
You’ve worked in high-profile restaurants in the region. What makes Cavalli different?
Well, the name of our brand is something special – who hasn’t heard of Roberto Cavalli? We try to extend the excellence of Roberto Cavalli into our kitchen, and provide the customer with the best luxury culinary experience possible. Cavalli is iconic for both expats and visitors, and it’s essential to keep the level of expertise up to the already high standards.
What does a typical day include?
I’m an early riser, which is surprising considering that I work until late every night. But I like to be up and about early, to get to work on new ideas for menus. A typical day includes checking emails, which usually involves discussions with the various departments on feedback from previous nights. We often discuss new menu ideas, new dishes, new themes, and how we can improve. I will often attend meetings with the general manager, my team in the kitchen, and other colleagues, to discuss the evening’s schedule. By 5pm, I am in the kitchen making sure everything is running smoothly for prep, and then we wait for the customers!
How will you ensure the restaurant stays competitive?
We are launching a new menu, which is totally new and fresh. It’s important to change it up every now and then, to keep things exciting. The menu is something never seen before in Dubai; the focus is on Italian dishes but with a modern twist. We have decided to mix things up a little and experiment with different textures and tastes to really get the taste buds tingling.
What are you most looking forward to in your new role?
For me, everything is new. It’s my first time as a head chef. I’m learning every day, especially about the management side, but I can say that I am most looking forward to emerging as a head chef and putting my stamp on the new dishes. It’s a great time to be joining, with the new menu, new team, and new nights at Cavalli, and I am really excited to get stuck in.