Meet the real wizard of Iz - the man behind the spice at the Grand Hyatt Dubai
Time Out chatted to Chef Ewald, the man behind the spicy culinary sensations currently putting the Grand Hyatt’s Iz restaurant among the Indian first-class fleet.
The food at Iz has been described as ‘Indian tapas’. What’s the thinking behind the way food is served at the restaurant? The piece-by-piece concept is to allow guests the opportunity to experience a large variety of kebabs, cooked in an authentic tandoor oven. They can eat as much or as little as they like, and, since the menu changes everyday, return customers always have something new to look forward to.
It’s certainly a beautiful restaurant. Who designed it and what’s the concept behind the design? The designer was Mr Graham Andresen, from the ID Studio. Subtle lighting and gentle hues have been introduced to make the dining experience as warm and inviting as possible. IZ is the epitome of chic, authentic India, with a private dining area with cocooned tables for eight.
Who is the best Indian chef in the world at the moment? That’s a very difficult question to answer – just as ‘beauty lies in the eye of the beholder’ so taste lies in the palate of the diner.
I know you’re the consummate professional and all that, but have you ever been tempted to load up an awkward customer’s curry with chilli powder? However bad a day, or however challenging a guest, I don’t let my emotions get the better of me. Challenging guests keep me even more busy than usual, which I enjoy!
Tell us about your signature dish. ‘Tandoori Salmon Tikka’ – it’s mildly spiced king salmon, hinted with fresh coriander, smoked in the tandoor just to point of doneness, with tonnes of cheddar. It goes well with a tangy pineapple chutney.
Kitchens can be dangerous places – have you ever suffered any nasty cuts, bruises or burns? Not really. I am trained to be safety conscious at all times!
What’s your favourite city in the world for food? I like Old Delhi – especially the Red Fort Area; the food is rustic and classical.
What made you want to become a chef? I always wanted each day of my life to be different and challenging. I especially enjoyed working and experimenting with food and flavours, so I put the two together and bingo! I had a hobby for life that I could enjoy.
Finish the following sentence: ‘Indian food is the best in the world because… It’s a complex yet simple combination of flavours with a diversity of spices and raw material: the more you eat – the less it is.
Which of the following statements do you agree with, and why: a) Food critics are necessary for the restaurant industry to thrive. b) I am indifferent to food critics. c) Food critics should be cooked in their own bile and fed to a hungry tiger. d) I am indifferent to food critics. My food brings back my guest again and again. I get the feedback on my food through speaking to my guests regularly, which is more important to me than any food critic!