Name: Khaled Abo Oun
Professional position: Arabic sous chef, Ewaan
What will you be doing at Taste of Dubai 2014?
I will be presenting Ewaan restaurant, which is our oriental all day dining at The Palace, offering exquisite dishes from around the region with an international twist. We have an exciting menu prepared this year with signature starters such as the potato kibbeh and yogurt mint sauce, as well as Arabic grill options for mains which will be prepared by me on an open grill at our stand during Taste of Dubai. We will be also serving our traditional lugaimot and umm ali as dessert options.
What do you think of the festival, and why did you decide to get involved this year?
Taste of Dubai is a great platform, not only to showcase our food, but also for great exposure. I decided to participate this year to let people taste authentic Arabic cuisine served at Ewaan. Personally, for me it’s also for the experience and exposure.
What do you think of the food scene in Dubai? How has it progressed in the past 12 months?
Over the months, Dubai’s food scene is becoming more competitive in terms of innovation and creativity, and has evolved tremendously. One needs to challenge oneself now to be the best and constantly push your boundaries in terms of innovation and creativity.
What food trends should be look out for throughout the rest of 2014?
The growing trend these days is fitness, and keeping that in mind people look to eat healthier, simple and freshly-prepared food. This is exactly what we follow by preparing fresh salads and mezzehs, so that people can eat healthier.
So, now a bit about you…what is your favourite cuisine to eat – NOT cook – and why?
I personally like eating a medium well charcoal-cooked rib eye steak, only because it is packed with flavors when cooked on charcoal and it is also fast to cook.
Describe your personal cooking style?
Staying true to my roots, my style of cooking would definitely be Syrian style cooked cuisines and also Lebanese.
What inspired you to become a chef?
My father started off his career as a baker. When I grew up, I joined him at our family bakery. But when I ate out at restaurants, I was always curious to know the recipes of the different dishes. That’s when I decided to become a chef.
What is the weirdest thing you have eaten or cooked?
The weirdest thing I have ever eaten is the Filipino street-side delicacy ‘balut’. The weirdest thing cooked – I have not personally cooked it – according to me is fried ice cream.
What is the best and worst thing about being a chef?
The best part about being a chef is seeing guests relish the food you’ve cooked, as well as receiving positive feedback and even being praised by guests for the food. The worst would definitely have to be less time spent with family and decreased social life.
When you have had a tough day, what is your ultimate comfort food dish?
Nothing works better than a sumptuous home cooked meal cooked by my mum, which could be anything as long as she prepares it.
Who does the cooking at home?
Well my wife and I take turns at home. She cooks all the Arabic dishes, and I cook all the Continental dishes.
If you weren’t a chef, you would be…
I would definitely then join my family business and be the owner of our bakery.