We have asked a few questions to our chefs and see what they responded:
CHEF GEORGE MWANGI INTERVIEW
1. Where are you from? And How long have you been a chef?
"My name is George Mwangi and I come from Nairobi, Kenya in East Africa. I have been working in the kitchen as a chef for the last 10 years. I started working professionally as a chef at the age of 18 back in Kenya."
2. What inspires you in the kitchen? Cultures, cuisines, flavour profiles etc.
What inspires me in the kitchen is understanding how to work well every day with a great team from all over the world. We work with great suppliers who deliver quality products every day and with that, I am able to visualise what I can put together to create something that is delicious and looks very good on the plate.
I love culinary arts because of its broad biodiversity and culture, its different cuisines, and its flavor profiles. I have been lucky enough to work in some of the best kitchens in the world with very talented chefs. This taught me how to work clean and organized, maintain tidiness, and staying neat at all times. I also got to polish my knife skills and techniques. I started working in UAE in a Latin kitchen where I fell in love with chilies. Later on, moved to a French Michelin star restaurant where I passionately loved working with molecular gastronomy.
Working in RAW Coffee Company gave me a vision of my career journey and built up my confidence, I've had to adapt my style moving from a hotel to cafe environment but i have a lot more autonomy. I got inspiration from our New Zealand / Australian menu that we are currently running and I'm using this Antipodean style as a fusion with the International ingredients available here.
3.Do you have a mentor/favourite chef?
My favourite chef is Chef Bojan Cirjanic who is the executive chef of Michelin star Folly Dubai. I have worked with him in the past and his techniques and management skills have a huge impact on my career journey. I use the knowledge that he passed on to me to be able to be a very creative and passionate chef with every ingredient I use and many recipes that I come up with have a touch of his influence or imagination.
4. What dishes on our menu are you most excited about for summer?
The dishes on the menu that I am most excited about this summer are two knew salads and two mains which are the Beetroot salad and the Kale and Fig salad. We also have two upcoming mains which will all be influenced by cuisines and cultures from all over the world. These dishes are a good presentation of who I am as a chef and the biodiversity and complex textures of what we are working with.
5.Your proudest career moment/highlight?
My proudest career moment was working in the BURJ AL ARAB where I learned a lot and worked with a lot of great chefs and great ingredients. I am also proud to have worked at the great Etihad towers in Abu Dhabi where Latin cuisine influenced my palate. Currently working in RAW has been a platform to showcase my ideas and catapult my passion to a whole different level. I'm proud of where I am today and my team and I give the guests the best dining experience every single day.
6. Share an unforgettable dining experience?
An unforgettable dining experience would be in Nairobi, Kenya where as a chef Africa is so diverse in its different cuisines and Kenya hits the mark when it comes to barbeque.There's a lot of restaurants that specialize in barbeque and that unique taste of charcoal and bush meat. The taste of charred goat can't be found anywhere else I've been to and that gives me memories every time I go back home.
7. Most underrated dish on the menu?
The most underrated dish on the menu would be the Don Buri. It's a dish that I believe is rich in culture and it's flavour profile of it is extremely delicious. I love Japanese food and I fuse a lot of my recipes with Japanese kinds of vinegar and ingredients which totally give dishes very complex flavours. Would love to see it excel and elevated because it's a great dish.
8. Favorite part of the job?
My favourite part of the job is working with a supportive team. Everyone understands their role in the team and with that things are able to get done swiftly and professionally. I get motivated by everyone who puts in their very best every day and that results in good food every day. A good team and a good working environment reflects on the food.
CHEF ALEXANDER MALIK INTERVIEW
1. Where are you from?
I am from the Philippines.
2. How long have you been a chef?
It's been 8 years, I started my journey as a chef.
3. Experience and qualifications?
I have done Bachelor's in Culinary arts back in 2003 and started working in many kitchens.
4. What inspires you in the kitchen? Cultures, cuisines, flavour profiles etc.
Cooking is not just a hobby for me; it is a passion that I love to indulge in whenever I can. In my free time, I enjoy reading recipes and trying out new dishes that catch my attention. The thrill of experimenting with different ingredients and techniques is something that I find truly exciting.
When I come across a recipe that interests me, I can't wait to try it out and see how it turns out. It's not just about following the instructions, though; I like to put my own twist on things and make the dish my own. This is where my creativity comes in, and I get to let my imagination run wild.
Of course, not every recipe turns out perfectly on the first try. That's why I practice and experiment until I get the taste and flavour that I want. This takes time and patience, but I am always willing to put in the effort to achieve the best possible result.
One of the things that motivates me the most is the satisfaction of creating a dish that people love. There is nothing quite like the feeling of seeing someone take a bite of your food and seeing the delight on their face. It is a testament to the hard work and dedication that I put into my cooking.
Overall, cooking is a passion that I will continue to pursue for as long as I can. It allows me to express my creativity, indulge in my love of food, and bring joy to others. I am grateful for the opportunity to continue learning and growing in the kitchen, and I look forward to the new recipes and techniques that I will discover along the way.
5.Do you have a mentor/favourite chef?
As someone who has a passion for cooking, I have been fortunate enough to have had some amazing mentors along the way. However, one person who has always stood out for me is my childhood friend, who introduced me to the world of cooking.
From a young age, my friend and I would spend countless hours in the kitchen, experimenting with different ingredients and techniques. They were the first person to show me how to cook, and their guidance and support have been invaluable to me.
As I progressed in my culinary journey, I began to look up to professional chefs who had made a name for themselves in the industry. One of my favourite chefs is Chef Nick Alvis, who has worked in some of the world's most prestigious kitchens and has a passion for creating innovative dishes that push the boundaries of traditional cuisine.
Another chef who has inspired me is Scott Prince, whose cooking style focuses on using fresh, seasonal ingredients and allowing them to shine in his dishes. His philosophy aligns with my own, as I believe that the quality of the ingredients is just as important as the cooking technique.
Finally, Bojan Cirjanic is a chef who has made a name for himself by creating modern and innovative dishes that showcase the flavours and ingredients of his native Serbia. His approach to cooking has inspired me to explore new flavours and cuisines and to think outside of the box when it comes to creating dishes.
Overall, my love of cooking has been shaped by my childhood friend, as well as the chefs who have inspired me along the way. Their passion, creativity, and dedication to their craft have motivated me to continue learning and growing in the kitchen. I am grateful for their influence on my culinary journey and excited to see where it will take me in the future.
6. What dishes on our menu are you most excited about for summer?
I probably George created, I’m pretty sure that people will love the dish - Beetroot salad and the Kale and Fig salad. More flavouring, and it's new for the people.
7.Your proudest career moment/highlight?
One of the proudest moments in my career was when I received a promotion to demi chef. It was a culmination of all the hard work, dedication, and passion that I had put into my job. The feeling of being recognised for my efforts was truly gratifying, and it is a moment that I will always cherish.
What made this moment even more special was the opportunity it gave me to mentor and guide my staff. Helping them perform at their best and supporting them in their own career journeys was incredibly fulfilling. It was a chance for me to pay it forward and share the knowledge and experience that
I had gained over the years. Overall, being promoted to demi chef was a significant milestone in my career. It validated my hard work and dedication to my craft, and it allowed me to inspire and support others in their own careers. I am grateful for the opportunity and proud of what I have accomplished so far.
8. Share an unforgettable dining experience?
Looking back on that embarrassing moment when I forgot my wallet during a lunch outing with a friend, I can't help but smile now that I have become a chef who creates delicious dishes for others to enjoy.
That experience was a reminder that mistakes happen, even to the best of us. It taught me the importance of being responsible and prepared, not just in my personal life but also in my professional life as a chef.
Now, whenever I create a new dish, I think back to that moment and use it as motivation to give my best effort and ensure that everything is in order. I want my guests to have a memorable dining experience, and that means being organised and ready to meet their needs.
9. Most underrated dish on the menu?
10. Favourite part of the job?
One of the things I love most about my job is the act of cooking itself. There's something truly special about taking raw ingredients and transforming them into a beautifully crafted dish that not only tastes amazing but also looks stunning on the plate.
What really brings me joy is being able to share my passion for cooking with others. When I see the look of delight on someone's face as they take that first bite, it's incredibly rewarding. And, when they complement the presentation and quality of the food, it makes all the hard work and effort worth it.
For me, cooking is not just a job; it's a creative outlet that allows me to express myself and bring happiness to others. It's a way for me to channel my passion and energy into something tangible and meaningful. And, whether it's cooking for friends and family or in a professional setting, I always strive to bring my best to the table and showcase my love for the craft.