'Chefs are some of the most hardworking, creative and passionate professionals': Eugene Gan
The head chef of Kulture House, Jumeirah, lets us into kitchen
Your best food-related experience to date.
My aunt, who I lived with during my younger days, would often cook up a storm for the whole family. I loved following her to the market and watching her prepare the food from scratch. Sambal Belacan is one of her favourites (fresh chillies with dried shrimp paste). The aroma of fresh chillies, sautéed French shallot, garlic and dried shrimp paste is unbelievable.
Who do you admire most in the culinary world, and why?
It is hard for me to name one individual because, if you look at the hospitality industry as a whole, chefs are some of the most hardworking, creative and passionate professionals. They lead teams and work together to create extraordinary food to satisfy the masses. I think it is also important to note that everyone in the kitchen has a vital role to play, from the executive chef to the kitchen hand.
How often do you eat out? And what's your favourite place around town?
Rarely. Probably the cafeteria scene around Al Satwa and The Sharjah Falcon in Al Khan, where I was a frequent visitor for their chicken biryani when we first moved to the UAE.
Your favourite culinary destination, and why?
South East Asia. It is one of the most diverse and multicultural places you can visit and the culinary expectations will blow you away. The different kinds of food that you can get - not only from restaurants, but from the streets - are endless. The street food culture of South East Asia is the main attraction for me, and something that everyone should experience.
If you could cook for a high-profile personality, who would it be and what would you serve him or her?
Anthony Bourdain. I'd love to serve him Hainanese Chicken Rice - although, sadly, this will now never become a reality.
You're asked to invent an unusual dish - what would it be?
Vegemite and Yuzu French Toast with Burnt Caramel Gelato. Care for some?
After cooking all day, do you cook for yourself at home too?
Very rarely. I usually only cook on festive or special occasions. Cooking is my job - I don't like to go home and have it feel like work all over again.
Favourite comfort food?
Pizzas, Korean fried chicken, burgers, street food and cafeteria food.
One ingredient/dish you can't stand, and why.
As a chef, I love my food and nothing comes to mind that I can't stand. If I don't like something, I will find a different way to use that ingredient to make it palatable.
If you could choose a last meal, what would it be?
Hainanese roasted chicken rice. It reminds me of my childhood days when, after finishing school, my mates and I would go to this coffee shop. Always the same place and always the same dish - Hainanese roasted chicken rice. No matter how many times we ate there, we never got bored of it.
- Staff Reporter