5 minutes with... Der Keller's chef

Get to know Marcel Kuropka, Head Chef at Der Keller

Name: Marcel Kuropka
Job title: Head Chef, Der Keller
Age: 35

How long have you lived in Dubai?
10 months… just about one year! So, I am coming up on my one-year anniversary. Come celebrate with me at Der Keller during Oktoberfest!

Where do you like to hang out in Dubai when you're not at work?
I like to go to the cinema and catch up on the films that are out.

What's your top tip for visitors to Dubai?
Let’s see. There is a lot to do here in Dubai from trying out new restaurants, going to the beach, shopping at some of the world’s largest malls and of course going to the top of the Burj Khalif. However, if I had to choose one thing, I would say a desert safari trip for truly unique experience to the region. It is great for people who have never been to this part of the world before and is something that most people have not done before.

What one thing would you like to do in Dubai that you haven't done before?
I really want to try Sky Dive Dubai. I think it would be so cool!

What career journey did you take before joining your restaurant?
I started in 1996 working in several hotels and restaurants in Germany for a number of years before I decided to complete my mandatory military service, where I served as a kitchen chef for the troops. Although a different direction in the culinary world, this experience taught me a lot about discipline in the kitchen and cooking for large quantities at a given time.

Afterwards, I decided to go back to restaurant kitchens and joined Hotel Bayerischer Hof in Lindau supporting the Sous Chef on the busy banqueting team where we held a number of functions on board vessels and yachts on Lake Constance.

Looking for a new challenge, I then went back to my hometown, Leipzig in Saxony, Germany to launch butchery as part of a family business. This was a different take in the culinary world, but equally educational as it got me to see the whole process of preparing the fresh meat, which as anyone knows, is a large part of German cuisine. I then went back to the kitchen but this time abroad taking positions in Greece, Saudi Arabia and Abu Dhabi before joining De Keller last year.

Aside from where you work. Where is your favorite place to dine in Dubai?
I do not have a set favorite place to dine here. I like to try other restaurants to see what they are doing and to also try different cuisines. This is a great city to do this.

Why should Time Out readers try your restaurant?
We not only have the well-known sausages and traditional meat dishes but also different German, Austrian and Swiss dishes that may not be as widely recognized. We offer authentic fare, so we give diners a real taste of the region.

What's the best thing about dining at your restaurant in 2015?
Typically speaking, most German restaurants outside of Germany are compared to Bavarian cuisine only, and are reminiscent of traditional halls. With Der Keller and the recent refurbishment we want to offer diners a range of the Alpine region’s cuisine in a warm and homely setting. We want guests to feel as if they are enjoying a meal at home.

What's your dish recommendation at your restaurant?
Is there a limit on how many I can recommend? If I had to pick a few, the Wiener Schnitzel is nice dish to try, as well the Kaiserschmarrn, caramelized shredded pancakes or Nuesslisalad, a traditional green salad with croutons with Swiss roots.

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