'Culinary school taught me techniques, but Jamie Oliver inspires my work ethic': Lendl Pereira
The Chef de Cuisine of Lexington Grill, Waldorf Astoria, Ras Al Khaimah, lets us into his kitchen
Your best food-related experience.
The experience that tops the charts for me was when I got the opportunity to be part of the team that cooked for Mr and Mrs Barack Obama, when they dined at the Taj Palace in Mumbai, India.
Who do you admire most in the culinary world, and why?
I have always admired Jamie Oliver and his strong passion for food. He invests a lot of time and effort into understanding, caring for, and respecting each ingredient, and this truly goes a long way to creating an amazing dish. Culinary school taught me cooking techniques, but I have been inspired by Jamie Oliver's work ethic and tried to inculcate those values in my work.
Your favourite culinary destination - and why?
Most certainly, India - not only because that is home for me, but also because of the way in which local ingredients are experimented with to create varieties of new flavour combinations. Each region in India uses unique cooking techniques to cook similar ingredients, which elevates dishes through complex flavours, richness and textures.
How often do you eat out? What's your favourite place around town?
Probably five times a month. My favorite place right now is 3 Fils in Dubai.
If you could cook for a high-profile personality, who would it be and what would you serve them?
It would have to be Kevin Hart. Since he is a big fan of cheese steak sandwiches and I am the Chef de Cuisine of one of the best steakhouses in the UAE, I would serve him with a dry-aged wagyu katsu sando with a black garlic aioli, Périgord truffle-crusted foie gras and Westcombe cheddar.
You're asked to invent an unusual dish - what would it be?
Crocodile eggs benedict with crocodile meat jerky and a sea urchin and smoked paprika hollandaise.
One ingredient or dish you can't stand, and why.
Balut eggs. The textures, flavours, appearance and smell just don't make sense to the culinary genie inside me.
After cooking all day, do you cook for yourself at home too?
Yes, of course. Besides my mother's food, only I can whip up some good old home-cooked comfort food for myself.
Favourite comfort food?
It would be Samyang 2x spicy chicken ramen stir-fried noodles.
If you could choose a last meal, what would it be?
Goan sausages with potatoes and poi bread.
Where can we find you, when you're not in the kitchen?
The highest mountain peak in the UAE, Jebel Jais.
- Staff reporter