We profile the international and Dubai talents cooking up a storm at Taste of Dubai
Jamie Robertson Jamie Robertson began his career in food and beverage in 2003 working part time at The Living Room in Edinburgh, Scotland where he found his vocation. At The Living Room he met with Ross Butler, the current managing partner of Gaucho Dubai, who recognised his burgeoning talent and sent him to college to learn the trade. It was here that Jamie fell in love with food and after finishing his studies, he began his accent as a chef.
Working his way through the kitchen ranks, Jamie was promoted to Sous Chef at the age of twenty and quickly learnt how to manage a kitchen. In 2007, Jamie assumed the role of Head Chef at Alma De Cuba, an independent restaurant in Liverpool. He took on the challenge of re-building this dwindling business and secured the Liverpool Best Restaurant Award consecutively for the three years he was there.
The recognition Jamie attracted from successfully transforming Alma De Cuba, caught the attention of Jamie Oliver. Working alongside Jamie Oliver and Jamie’s mentor Genarro Contaldo, he helped to develop the menu for their Dubai restaurant where he was later to work as Head Chef.
Bringing his wealth of experience, talent and drive to the Gaucho team in 2012, Jamie is an integral part of Gaucho’s regional development.
Chef Chaiwat Kawikitpraphat Head Chef Thiptara, The Palace Downtown Dubai
With over 15 years of experience in the culinary field, Chef Chaiwat Kawikitpraphat is the Head Chef at Thiptara, the elegant Thai restaurant at The Palace Downtown Dubai.
Having begun his stint as Chef de Cuisine, Chef Chaiwat is now responsible for overseeing the day-to-day operations of Thiptara, while managing and creating menus and recipes, and monitoring his associates’ responsibilities.
Prior to joining The Palace Downtown Dubai, Chef Chaiwat worked at numerous global hotel chains including Park Hyatt and Le Meridien.
He holds a Degree in Agriculture Technology Science from the Rajabhat Phanacon Institute Bang-Khan in Bangkok, Thailand.
Gabriel Stivala Chef de Cuisine Asado, The Palace Downtown Dubai
As the Chef de Cuisine at Asado, the Argentinean grill at The Palace Downtown Dubai, Gabriel is mandated with assisting on the day-to-day operations of the restaurant.
With more than 15 years of experience in the culinary industry, Gabriel brings extensive insights on South American cuisine, having worked in various restaurants in Spain, Argentina, and New York.
Prior to joining Asado, Gabriel worked as the Head Chef at the Hotel El Peregrino Relais & Chateaux and retreat in Spain.
He holds a degree in the culinary arts from Azafrán Gastronomy School.
Khaled Abo Oun Arabic Sous Chef Ewaan, The Palace Downtown Dubai
As the Arabic Sous Chef of Ewaan, the Oriental all-day dining restaurant at The Palace Downtown Dubai, Khaled is mandated with assisting in the execution of the day-to-day operations of the restaurant.
With over 13 years of experience in the culinary industry, Khaled has an extensive understanding of Arabic cuisine and its versatility across the Middle East and North Africa region.
At Ewaan, Khaled works alongside the Executive Chef to create and implement the prolific offerings of the restaurant’s Arabic menu, ensuring that tastes are as close to authentic as possible.
Khaled’s experience spans numerous hotels and stand-alone restaurants across UAE and Syria.
Christopher Thompson Born in Texas, USA into an international family, consisting of an American father and Italian mother, Christopher was passionate about food from an early age.
At the age of ten, Christopher’s family relocated to Italy and it was here his passion for cooking was born. Christopher’s formal training commenced at the esteemed private Italian Culinary School, located in the heart of Italy’s food region Brescia. Christopher received training from Italy’s most prestigious chefs of such as: Giuseppe Maffioli, Gualtiero Marchesi, Piergiorgio Giorilli and Valerio Catella.
After a long career, in the last quarter of 2013, Christopher joined Ruth’s Chris Steak House as Executive Chef.
David Cagle Chef David Cagle, originally from Lansing, Michigan, started cooking from a mere age of 14. He came from a family of 10 members where the thought of ‘if you are hungry, cook for yourself’ was instilled in all the family members. He is trained in classic French food and completed his formal education from the Glasgow College of Food Technology.
Chef Cagle has bagged about 18 years of culinary experience under his wing and has worked at various fine dining and Michelin starred restaurants as well as achieving three prestigious Michelin stars along the way. He started working at Michelin starred Cameron House at the young age of 19, from where he moved on to the Glasgow Art Club, followed by the Carlton George Hotel, Rosette Hotel, The Restaurant Bar & Grill – Glasgow, and most recently worked for Wafi Restaurants before joining St Tropez Bistro.
Chef Cagle believes that consistency and team work are the prime keys to a successful restaurant. When each member of the kitchen is trained well to perform the task he has been hired to do, and the whole team works in synchronisation, the food standards are always consistent and best results are delivered. Cagle also believes that every chef should have a special love for the dish they are cooking, ensuring that he is putting his everything in the dish to make it as delectable as possible.
Chef James Kang In Chef Kang’s own words: ‘I have been behind the stove since I was a teen. My formal training began after College when I worked in Oriental Hotel in Jeju Island South Korea as a commis from 1992 – 1993. After this I moved to Hyatt Regency Jeju in year 1994 where I spent several years and was promoted to Chef de Partie in Western Cuisine and flowed this up by becoming Sous Chef. I worked there in my hometown of Jeju until 2003.
‘After many years of staying in Jeju I decided to move to Hyatt Regency in Incheon as a Sous Chef in Banquet Kitchen area and I handled all the Chaîne des Rôtisseurs, wine dinner’s and all the VIP functions. Six months down the line I was promoted again as Chef de Cuisine.
‘My career like my life itself has been a journey and after a few more years I was promoted again as an Executive Sous Chef and I handled eight restaurants. I was two years working there when I got the opportunity to move country when I got approached to be Executive Chef of Asiana Hotel Dubai. Since 2010 I have been handling seveb restaurants, a bbq venue and two bars. I am extremely proud of how far we have come in this short time and especially our Korean restaurant Sonamu.’
Chef Jean Francois Brouck Belgian Chef Jean Francois Brouck brings a passion for the cuisine of his native country to Café Belge, with almost 20 years of experience in Belgium, as well as New York, Singapore, Bali, Portugal and Dubai. Combining traditional techniques with creative presentation, Chef Jean Francois is thrilled to return to Dubai to open Café Belge, which hopes to recreate the vibrant spirit of 1920s Brussels
Jose Luis Head Chef at Café Habana Dubai
Jose Luis was born and raised in Puebla, Mexico City. Thanks to his cousin, Jose went to New Jersey in his late teens where he was introduced to Italian and American Cuisine, it was at that moment his culinary journey began. Shortly after gaining his first job as a waiter he soon felt a strong desire to be in the kitchen, cooking the dishes rather than serving them. Jose then embarked on a mission to fulfil his dreams of becoming a Chef and stared working in different restaurants. Jose developed a wealth of experience including Central Brasserie in Mexico City where he focused on creating truly authentic Mexican cooking, going back to his roots.
In 2004, Jose moved to New York City where he landed Head Chef at the famed old-school Dominican Diner- Café Habana. Leading as head Chef for eight years, Jose made quite a name for himself amongst local hipsters and celebrities who became regular visitors, returning for the famous grilled corn, Cuban sandwich and other Cuban favourites perfected by Jose Luis and his team.
In 2012 it was announced that Café Habana would open its doors in Dubai and Jose was asked to head up their new kitchen.
Chef Kiran Shetty Executive Pastry Chef, Middle East
With more than 16 years of experience, Chef Kiran is a leader in the industry, skillful at baking, kitchen management, candy making and more. As Executive Pastry Chef for the Middle East, Chef Kiran overseas quality management for all of Magnolia Bakery’s Middle East locations, including stores in Lebanon, Kuwait, Dubai and Qatar.
Prior to joining Magnolia Bakery, Chef Kiran worked for four years in Dubai’s Burj Al Arab.
During an earlier tenure at LSG, Chef Kiran won various medals and prestigious awards, including New Zealand Pastry Chef of the year 2008.
Scott Stokes Scott Stokes is a British national originally from Tonbridge, Kent. Entering the hospitality industry as a bar tender he moved up the ranks at lightning speed. While working at Cherry Lodge Golf Club in Kent as Front of House manager he explored his passion for food, helping in the kitchen when they were undermanned and going in on his days off to learn more.
In August 2003, he relocated to Dubai and joined the Jumeirah family as Commis de Cuisine at Burj Al Arab’s Al Muntaha restaurant. Two years later he was promoted to Senior Chef de Partie at the hotel’s fine dining seafood restaurant, Al Mahara. In October 2008 he made the move to Jumeirah Group’s dedicated branded restaurant division, Jumeirah Restaurants, as Rivington Grill’s Chef de Partie. Working his way up to Sous Chef and his current position as Rivington Grill’s Head Chef, Scott serves back to basics British cuisine focusing on fresh seasonal produce, using local and international suppliers to source the finest quality ingredients.
Uwe Micheel Director Of Kitchens- Radisson Blu Hotel, Dubai Deira Creek President – Emirates Culinary Guild Nationality: German
Uwe Micheel career was set when he was 12 years old, always helping his mother in the kitchen, and attending cooking classes at that time designed for young girls only. Chef Uwe was born in Germany where he spent most of his childhood and found his first full time job as Restaurant Chef in Celler Hof boutique hotel in Celle city near Hanover. After one year of working at the hotel Schwarzer Bock in 1978 (Hotel founded in 1486), which is now managed by Radisson, Micheel served two years in the army service as a chef in the officer restaurant.
He joined the InterContinental Hotels Group in 1981 in Germany, a year later he moved to the UK as the Chef de Partie Saucier in Hyde Park London, and afterwards shifted to Bahrain for three years. Relocated to Korea as member of the opening team for the InterContinental Seoul, three years later got appointed as Executive Sous Chef for Yokohama Grand InterContinental. Since 1993 he has been working in Dubai, holding a post of Director of Kitchens and Emirates Culinary Guild General Secretary from 1994, ECG Chairman from 1996 and President from 1999 until present.
He currently oversees the large kitchen operation and implementation of the Radisson Blu Hotel, Dubai Deira Creek, coming from a large F&B portfolio of 11 restaurants, three bars, a dhow, a cake shop and very well-reputed outside catering service team.
After more than 20 years cooking experience, he still hasn’t selected his favorite dish.