How long have you lived in Dubai? Nine months, and previously for two years.
Where do you like to hang out in Dubai when you're not at work? The Walk, JBR. I like to be there from late morning and just unwind. I usually stop in various places along the way to pass the time until the early evening.
What's your top tip for visitors to Dubai? Head over to Deira and go to the souks. Check out the spices, perfume and gold. The creek is beautifully lit at night, take a boat and cross it. There’s a lot of flash and glamour here in Dubai and it’s quite easy to get sucked in. However, Deira is a nice reminder of old Dubai as you can feel it in the air at night. From the saltiness of the creek, the mustiness from the hard work, the spice from the market and the rustic scenery all collected together- it’s a different and genuine kind of experience.
What one thing would you like to do in Dubai that you haven't done before? Skydive! Although, I do have a great fear of heights. I honestly intend to. Just as soon as I have more time. As you already know, whatever spare time I have is taken up by lazing around JBR.
What career journey did you take before joining your restaurant? It started in London with a lot of fine dining experience in 1, 2 and 3 Michelin starred restaurants. You don’t realise it when you're immersed in that intense and crazy environment, but you walk away with a lot more discipline and savviness that never leaves you. These traits look after you and eventually start taking you places. This is what took me to my very first position in Dubai four years ago, opening one of the best restaurants in town. It is great to be back in the city and part of a new opening experience this time with one of the most vibrant restaurants in town, COYA.
Why should Time Out readers try your restaurant? Honestly? It’s the soul, the vibe of COYA; from the food, authentic and contemporary beverages at the bar and the music. All this, genuinely presented to our guests by our incredible team makes for a memorable, fun and unique experience.
What's the best thing about dining at your restaurant in 2015? I think it’s all the above, I hope we are doing some of the best Peruvian food you will find in town. The ceviche’s and tiraditos are incredible, the tiger’s milk will never taste the same daily so the chefs taste and adjust continuously. The fish is flown in fresh from Europe and Japan and then there are the meats from the Robata Grill and Josper. The cazuelas, (rice or potatoes cooked in an iron pot) and then we have the sweetcorn ice-cream. The food we serve is light and healthy but with some intense flavours. Our lunch environment is different to the more electric evenings, a great place for a quiet business lunch or a leisurely lunch over a few hours.
What's your dish recommendation at your restaurant? The cazuela rice Nikkei with Sea Bass, oh...