Young chef: Steven Peter

Chef de cuisine at the Madinat Jumeirah on Blumenthal, bosses and beating the competition

Interview
Interview
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Fancy becoming a Time Out food critic for an evening? Then join us for a night of festive fine dining and help us in search for the city’s hottest young chef. You will be served a four-course festive meal cooked in front of a live audience – all you have to do is eat, drink and judge.

We caught up with contestant, Steven Peter to find out more about his foodie style.

How long have you lived in Dubai?
I’ve been living here for the past seven years.

What made you want to come here in the first place?
I was inexperienced at first – I first came here when I was 19 to gain experience outside of Germany.

What inspired you to start cooking?
When I was 12 years old, I started cooking classes at school as it was part of our school system. Every day I’d come home and cook what I’d learnt at school for my mum. I loved cooking so thought ‘why not make a profession out of it’.

What’s your favourite dish to make?
Anything seafood related, using fresh seafood in particular. I used to work in Pierchic, a fine-dining seafood restaurant. I worked there for three and a half years before I took over the main kitchen. And that’s my passion; seafood – you can do so many things with it. My favourite is between lobster and scallops.

Would that be your favourite dish to eat as well?
Definitely. Lobster has got a nice texture to it and if you cook a scallop right it’s nice and soft.

What would you say is the best part of being in this competition?
Well I’ve had a great year already and this would be a good way to finish it off. I’m actually quite young to be chef de cuisine but I think the management here at Madinat Jumeirah has quite a lot of trust in me. We’re one of the oldest hotels, with nine years in Dubai, but I want to show that we’re still more than a hotel. We have passionate chefs and great talent.

Describe your menu?
My menu is all about the flavours, the flavours of Christmas.

What part of the menu do you think will help you beat your competitors?
I have a lot of respect for the other finalists, especially Christopher Graham from Atlantis. Three or four years ago, when I was a chef de partie, he was my sous chef at Pierchic. Now I’m competing against one of my previous bosses. I think the flavours and presentation of my dishes will stand out. I also have a great team backing me up. We’re not just a team, we’re friends. At the end of the day, the best chef with the tastiest dishes will win and I think I’ve got a good chance. But it’s all up to the judges and the guests.

Do you have a favourite chef?
I would have to say Heston Blumenthal. Madinat Jumeirah sent me to London for a month to train at the Fat Duck and to experience something new. With a modern twist, you can transform any traditional dish and I think Heston does it well.

What’s the most challenging aspect of your job?
Pressure. At the moment I’m looking after 75 chefs, in seven different outlets. But thankfully I have a good team backing me up so the pressure is reduced a little. Also, the pressure of coming up with new dishes and competing with different outlets is a challenging aspect of my job.

Do you have a favourite restaurant here in Dubai?
Despite previously working at Pierchic, I would still say it’s one of the best high-class restaurants in the city. I haven’t been Table 9 yet, but that’s definitely somewhere I’m looking forward to visiting one day.

Do you like any street food here?
Five months ago, I found a small restaurant in JLT called Doner Kebab. In Germany it’s a traditional street food and I’ve spent the past seven years looking for something similar in Dubai – I’ve finally found it.

See Steven Peter’s menu here and get your tickets for the Time Out Dubai Young Chef of the Year here.

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