Beachroad Magazine catch up with Abs Patil Executive Chef for Meeras at one of his venues Bikes N Bites at Box Park.
How long have you been in Dubai? //
I moved to Dubai in 2011 so almost 5 joyful years. I feel more to go. Dubai holds on to me so tightly that at this moment I don't see myself anywhere else. Before coming to Dubai I never thought that I will stay five years but looks like I will spend few more years in Dubai. This place is vibrant, food industry heavily blooming. There are some seriously good food concepts are here and more coming. I believe in next few years Dubai is going to be food destination.
Where do you like to eat, shop and socialise in our community? //
My new eating destination is BOX park and city walk area. There are a variety of restaurants here. I generally don't shop. Most of the time I shop for others. I prefer to shop in Mercato Mall.
What is your take on Dubai as a city and its growth? // Dubai is wonderful city. This is the place where we all come from different countries and still feel that this is our second home. Dubai has accepted everyone, There are so many things to do. In last five years Dubai has been drastically changing and the change is good for business and the economy is growing. As the Expo2020 comes closer we will see new face of Dubai.
Abs answers the Beachroad Magazine Q&A //
NAME? // Abs Patil.
YOUR FIRST JOB? // As a trainee commis chef in Le Meridien, India where I was working 15 hrs a day and 7 days a week. If lucky you would get a day off every 2 weeks.
YOUR CURRENT OCCUPATION? // Executive chef for Meraas Restaurants.
YOUR GREATEST LOVE? // Of course food is my passion and love, everything I do and think is based around the food. I have studied medical science but left my studies in between and then joined a hotel management course. I had no clue that one day I will be a chef. Now also 14 years of chef experience I still need to learn a lot.
YOUR GREATEST FEAR? // I fear two things one is heights and secondly deep water. I still can't swim though I have spent 2 years on cruise liner, I never use to go out on deck and look down down on the waves.
IF YOU COULD HAVE A MEAL WITH ANYONE ALIVE OR DEAD WHO WOULD IT BE? // Somebody alive would definitely be chef Nigella Lawson and Hollywood actor Mark Wahlberg.
WHO IS YOUR CULINARY HERO? // Jamie Oliver. I worked almost 5 years with Jamie Oliver. His contribution to the food industry is phenomenal, I worked as an executive chef for his brand Jamie's Italian and opened 2 restaurant for him in Dubai. He is the only chef I have seen who follows standard food ethos for his restaurant brand and never compromises on ethos guidelines.
WHAT INGREDIENT COULD YOU NOT LIVE WITHOUT? // Your food is incomplete without one ingredients and that is salt. I am sure everyone who cooks can't live without salt.
WHAT IS YOUR EARLIEST MEMORY? // I remember a couple of years back being a chef was not an easy job. Specially if you are learning. You have to do monkey work and learn things by yourself. Senior chefs will not teach you things because they are scared that one day you will take their position. I remember doing wash jobs just to please my senior chefs so then can teach me secrete recipes.
WHO IS YOUR ROLE MODEL AND WHY? // Again my role model is Jamie Oliver. He is the only celebrity chef that is not carrying any Michelin stars but still had a huge impact on food industry. I like his campaign that he is doing for school meals, tax on sugar and food revolution. My style of rustic food presentation comes from him only.
WHAT WAS THE LAST GIFT YOU GAVE SOMEONE? // It was for my brother's birthday. I bought Adidas gym suit, cuff links And perfume.
IF YOU WERE 80 YEARS OLD WHAT ADVICE WOULD YOU GIVE YOUR CHILDREN? // Enjoy your life and do what you feel rather than what people expect you to do. So when you grow old you don't have to look back and say I wish I would have done that.
YOUR WORST TRAIT? // I am very blunt and I give honest opinions about others especially when it comes to professional work. Sometime people get offended thinking that I am very rude.
THE WORST TRAIT IN OTHERS THAT GETS YOU MAD? //
Fake smile and fake appreciation. You easily come to know that it's fake and still they do it.
WHO WOULD PLAY YOUR PART IN A MOVIE? // Robert De Nero, I remember his scene from casino where he ask his chef about how many blueberries in the muffin?that is exactly how I behave in my kitchen.
FAVOURITE MUSIC? // I am not big fan of listening to music but the only time I listen to music while I am driving to work or on the way home its Jazz or romantic or instrumental music.
LAST RECORD YOU BOUGHT? // Now days I don't think anyone buy records. We live in cyber world and all new music is available online. Yes but if I have to buy record I will buy Justin Bieber, Beyonce's or Bruno Mars.
FAVOURITE BOOK? // I am a chef so when ever I walk into a bookstore I head straight to the cookery section. I have a big selection of cookery books including books by James Martin, Jamie Oliver, Nigella Lawson, Gordon Ramsay and Antonio Carluccio.
LAST BOOK YOU BOUGHT? // Last book I bought was in Istanbul. It is about Turkish exquisite traditional cooking and Turkish street food.
WHAT INSPIRES YOU? // Failures in life inspire me to achieve success.
THE CLOSEST YOU HAVE COME TO DEATH? // Last year when I was opening a restaurant in JBR, I was continuously working for 2 months without sleep. One day I was coming back from work and I slept while driving on SZR road I bumped my car into a mini bus, luckily my speed was slow and due to traffic everyone else was slow. When I woke up my car was smashed but no one got hurt.
FAVOURITE DESTINATION? // London! I have spent 8-9 years in the UK and mostly in London. The city is a joy to live in, if you are foodie then nothing is better than London it has so much to offer. Also I love winter and cold weather, it sounds weird but yes one of the reasons I love London is due to the weather.
LEAST FAVOURITE DESTINATION? // Nowhere I enjoy every destination as long as I have friends and family with me.
HOW DO YOU RELAX? // When I am off work I spend maximum time with my kids and wife. Playing with my kids make me feel relaxed. Other than that I love watching movies and surfing the web looking for new food ideas.
WHY DUBAI? // Before coming to Dubai I never thought that I would stay five years but it looks like I will spend a few more years in Dubai. This place is vibrant, and the food industry is heavily booming.
ARE YOU SPORTY? // Yes I am sporty.
BEACH OR DESERT? // Beach
URBAN OR RURAL? // Depends, I prefer both at some point.
CATS OR DOGS? // Dogs but I never had a dog as a pet. I am completely against the pet concept. Animals are born to be wild and let them be loose.
COFFEE OR TEA? // Tea, of course coming from an Indian background so habitual to tea but I drink one cup a day only.
WHAT MAKES YOU LAUGH? // Good sense of humour and old friends.
WHAT MAKES YOU CRY? // Imbalance of rich and poor people. Sometime I just think I spend twenty Dhs on coffee and someone is spending 20 Dhs on their two meals for the day. I do believe in charity and help those who need money but at they same time I don't shout about it.
YOUR MESSAGE? // I am too small to message but I would say "You see the world as your mind and soul is. So if you want this world to be beautiful then be beautiful".