Guest chef at Traiteur and executive chef of Pur’Grill, Paris Jean-Francois Rouquette knows a thing or two about food. We insist he enlightens us.
Will this be your first trip to Dubai? I visited Dubai once, three years ago for a conference. I didn’t have a chance then to travel or discover anything. Dubai is now a trendy place and it’s at a crossroads. On this trip, I will try to visit it properly, and am excited to meet people from different backgrounds and to see the fashionable hotels and restaurants.
What are you going to bring to Traiteur as a guest chef this week? I will prepare some of the same dishes that I make in France, and also some specialties, such as duck fois gras crème brûlee. I will also try to find a way to adapt the menu according to the seasons in Dubai. That’ll be quite a challenge.
Any thoughts on opening up a restaurant over here? Why not? We never know in life.
How would you describe your cooking philosophy? It is quite light French cuisine. I like to create dishes that are familiar, but have a bit of creativity as well.
So, there are a number of other major French chefs who’ve opened up restaurants out here. How do you feel about that? It’s good that so many French restaurants are opening up in Dubai. It’s an important place now and I think it’s important for people to discover the cuisine of France. The only thing is that many of our chefs are opening restaurants, but they are not in Dubai to create new dishes. I may not be opening a restaurant, but I will be there for one week and I will be cooking all the dishes myself. You raise an interesting point.
How do you feel about chefs that open restaurants they don’t actually cook in? Who’s your favourite singer? Mine’s Sting. When I go to a Sting concert, I want to hear Sting. I’m not going to go to a concert with a person that is singing as Sting. It’s the same kind of thing with chefs. It’s good that people around the world are discovering French food; it’s just that if a chef is going to open a restaurant, it’s important that he has good assistants, and that he still brings his philosophy to the food and the way it’s cooked, otherwise it’s not fair for the clients.
Jean-François Rouquette is a Michelin-starred chef. He will be cooking at Traiteur in the Park Hyatt from November 12-16. For reservations, call 04 602 1234