'I find cooking with my wife a great way to spend quality time with family'
Talking food with Mohamad Chabchoul, Executive Chef, Grand Millennium Hotel Business Bay.
Your best food-related experience.
My best food experiences have come from experimentation. If I eat out, I go to places I have never been before or order food I have never had. I am always trying new foods and flavours. One treat which really stands out in my mind was an ice cream stuffed with macaroons. Delicious!
Who is your inspiration, and why?
Putting this as simply as I can, cooking is my hobby. It started with preparing pancakes in the kitchen with my mother as a child. Since then, I have always enjoyed the feeling of cooking for other people and the happiness that delicious food brings them. I would have to say my mother is one of my biggest inspirations in general, along with my family who have always been so supportive.
Your favourite culinary destination, and why?
In my opinion, the food and flavours of a destination are integral to the overall travel experience, and if you want to really immerse yourself in a new culture, you must also taste their cuisine.
I would have to say my favourite culinary destination is either Morocco for its delicious combination of flavours and spices that make the food so unique, or Vietnam because the cooking is bright, fresh, light and healthy, with a diverse array of dishes that feature a perfect balance of spice, aromas and sweet and savoury flavours.
How often do you eat out?
I probably eat out about twice a week; I like to visit other restaurants to check out what is happening in the market and to stay on top of new trends that can help to keep my business on the right track.
If you could cook for a high-profile personality, who would it be and what would you serve them?
Food lovers are my favourite kind of people to cook for and I have also had the pleasure of cooking for a lot of celebrity singers and artists. But if I had to choose one person, it would definitely be His Highness Sheikh Hamdan bin Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Crown Prince of Dubai and Chairman of Dubai Executive Council. He is known for his love for seafood, so I would serve him a signature salmon pearl with grey shrimps, sea urchin dressing, vanilla and gold olive oil and micro greens.
Youíre asked to invent an unusual dish ó what would it be?
In the culinary world, there are always ways to create and innovate new dishes. When I want to develop a new recipe, I grab a single pot or pan and think about what I can fit on one plate. You have to consider seasonal items and produce along with the mix of different ingredients. Creating a new recipe isnít an easy journey; it requires a huge amount of focus and knowledge of every ingredient you are working with.
If I had to create an unusual dish, it would be smoked goat cheese brulee served with fresh green apple and beetroot caviar.
One ingredient/dish you cannot stand, and why.
I am not a huge fan of cauliflower; I just donít enjoy the taste!
After cooking all day, do you cook for yourself at home too?
I do cook for myself at home. My wife is also a big fan of cooking healthy food, so we cook together for our two daughters. I find itís a great way to spend quality time with my family.
Favourite comfort food?
My favourite comfort food is mainly Arabic food. I really enjoy the delicious selection of cold and hot mezzeh, as well as home-cooked food such as Grandmaís stews.
If you could choose a last meal, what would it be?
If I had to choose, it would be a sandwich with grilled halloumi, baby rocket and pomegranate molasses, with a touch of sumac aioli. Itís one of my favourites and full of unique flavours that pair so well together.
Where can we find you, when not in the kitchen?
At the gym or spending time with my lovely family.