Emirati Chef and Co-founder of Fae Cafe
Tell us a bit about yourself.
I'm a 29 years old Emirati chef and the co-founder of Fae Cafe. I started cooking after I lost weight around five years ago and I was able to learn more about healthy and delicious food. I eventually developed a passion for it and continued pursuing a path in the arts of fine dining.
How did you develop an interest in food?
Before, I weighed around 150 kg and I always loved food, but when I was losing weight, I did not like any healthy restaurant meals out there which led me to prepare my own meals. In that process, I started learning more and more about how to perfect the cooking technique of each ingredient.
Being a chef is an unlikely career for a young Emirati, tell us about your journey.
I graduated from the States with a double major in Accounting and Finance, but decided on a different career path. I was lucky enough to have a very supportive family. It was definitely a shock to them at first, but eventually, when they saw the effort and how serious I was about being a chef, they accepted my decision. It was obvious that I wanted to reach specific goals in this newfound passion.
How would you describe your style of cooking?
It would definitely have to be related to the flavours I grew up with and the traditional food in my hometown, however, I work in the method of fine dining, where food is executed at a higher standard than your average cooking method.
What is your favourite cuisine to cook?
Definitely Asian cuisines. It is very diverse- infused with rich and beautiful culture. I love the authenticity of every dish and ingredient.
If you were not a chef, what would you be doing?
It would still be something related to the food industry. Since food is one of the primary needs of people, it is one that will continue to exist no matter what.
What’s the modern kitchen gadget you couldn’t live without?
My sous-vide machine, because it helps me create amazing dishes all the time. It will let you cook dishes in a much more natural and healthy way.
Do you have a "signature dish" or favourite dish you enjoy cooking?
I’m a big fan of seafood dishes. Seafood is very versatile. Creating unique and delicious dishes is always possible. I always enjoy cooking and working with freshly caught fish.
Where does your inspiration come from?
What are your essential ingredients, the things you couldn’t live without?
Salt, spice and everything nice.
Is there a secret for a successful restaurant?
A successful restaurant has massive patience because success is not an easy process. For you to stand out, you need to create a unique flavour that people will always remember. Execution is needed to make plans into reality. Lastly, consistency is the key for you to be on top of the competition.
What advice would you give to someone wanting to become a chef?
If you don’t have passion for it and you’re not happy doing it, don’t waste your time. Persistence and determination is needed to reach your goals.
Do you have any tips from the kitchen that you’ve picked up that could be useful to home cooks?
Practice makes perfect. Try again even if you fail, things will be better, and you'll learn from every mistake.
What do you usually eat?
I always like grilled chicken with hot sauce.
What do you like to do outside of the kitchen?
I like going to the gym. I work out about 3 hours a day, five days a week. Mainly because I eat a lot and I’m prone to getting fat, I need to burn the fats regularly to remain healthy.
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Fae Cafe is located at 305 Al Meena St - Abu Dhabi