Beachroad meet Vancouver native and Chef Liam Breen, Liam relocated to Dubai to open Conrad Hotel, working at Marco Pierre White Grill and then onto The Maine Oyster bar. Thats enough talking, Lets eat.
NAME? // Liam Breen.
YOUR FIRST JOB? // Blue Canoe Seafood & Oyster bar.
YOUR CURRENT OCCUPATION // Pre opening executive chef (still a secret).
WHEN DID YOU REALISE THE CULINARY WORLD WAS FOR YOU? // When I started to work in Montreal and see some of the guys that I really looked up to hustling day and night on the line, while still maintaining positive energy, good vibes and just an all around pure enjoyment of what they did. Thats what really caught me up into it, and you feel like whatever group of maniacs you're standing with behind the line are as close as a brother or sister would be.
WHO WERE YOUR EARLY CULINARY INFLUENCES? // For sure the big boys that I looked up to in Canada were; Chuck Hughes, Martin Picard, Normand Laprise, Dave McMillan and Fred Morin
WHAT HAS BEEN THE MOST SIGNIFICANT WORK RELATED MOMENT YOU HAVE HAD? // So many things happen throughout a cook or a chefs career that I couldn't actually pin point that. Winning awards was definitely a big one, but I think the most significant one has yet to happen, which is being able to cook for my Mom and Dad in my restaurant. I've been travelling a lot, and for a long time and they're on the other side of the world.
YOUR FAVOURITE DISH TO COOK? // Not so much dish, but making pasta is hands down my favourite, you just tune out and zone in.
DO YOU WATCH ANY OF THE MANY COOKING SHOWS ON TV? // Rachel Ray all day all night.
IF YOU COULD SPEND A DAY WITH ANY CHEF ALIVE OR DEAD WHO WOULD IT BE? // Charlie Trotter. I've never been able to answer a question as quickly as I just did there.
YOUR FAVOURITE RESTAURANT IN DUBAI? // I can never remember the name, but this sweet little hidden Korean gem in Al Barsha.
YOUR FAVOURITE RESTAURANT GLOBALLY? // Toque, Montreal.
WHAT ADVICE WOULD YOU GIVE SOMEONE STARTING OUT IN THE BUSINESS? // Buckle down, and love what you do. Also, always use a cloth when you grab a metal pan handle.
DID YOU STUDY TO BE A CHEF AND IF SO WHERE? // No I did not. Just began working in the kitchens.
IF YOU OWNED A RESTAURANT WHAT WOULD YOU CALL IT? // I can't give away all the secrets!
IF YOU WERE NOT A CHEF WHAT WOULD YOU BE DOING? // A musician.
IF YOU WERE ONLY ALLOWED TO COOK ONE MORE MEAL WHAT WOULD IT BE? // Grilled Cheese sandwich.
WHAT COOKING DO YOU MOST IDENTIFY WITH? // Mostly french, but I like to play with international flavours while using french methods of application.
COOKING ASIDE, WHAT INSPIRES YOU? // Just seeing people doing what they love and instilling passion into newcomers of the trade.
WHERE IS YOUR DREAM RESTAURANT LOCATION? // Gulf Islands off the coast of British Columbia.
DOES YOUR FAMILY FOLLOW YOUR LOVE OF COOKING? // Yes very much so. I hit a few rough patches growing up and once I found my love for cooking I think that they really started to then immerse themselves in it and I like to think that it was something they did to support me, and now its part of their every day lifestyle. More often than not when my father and myself speak its about recipes and food.
WHAT IS YOUR TAKE ON THE DINING SCENE IN DUBAI? // it needs educating big time, and no ones going to do it on their own. Its up to us as an industry to bring the amount of culture the expat community brings to the table to steer them into a direction of what the experience we are trying to show them, which is easier said than done. The guest needs to kind of come into what we are trying to show with an open mind and tastebuds, but from us we need to be able to understand ourselves and what we are doing and why we are doing it, otherwise we are lost in translation and step back into the comfort zone making it impossible or very hard to create something unique.
WHY DUBAI? // I originally came out here for just a new experience, and then it kind of sunk in that....Hey. theres something that can be done here, and it feels good explaining the story behind the food to a guest who may never get an experience like I had the honour of being brought up with. The same goes vice-versa. The cultural diversity in Dubai is insane (in a good way) and every day I am still learning something new which I would never be exposed to myself. Its a give and get market here.
HOW LONG HAVE YOU BEEN IN DUBAI? // Five years.
WHY SHOULD SOMEONE VISIT DUBAI? // To eat at Ravi's.
YOUR GREATEST LOVE? // Fried chicken wings.
YOUR GREATEST FEAR? // Running out of fried chicken wings.
WHAT IS YOUR EARLIEST MEMORY? // Probably getting my first lego set, I had to have good behaviour weeks in my school for one week straight, and that was my prize.
WHO IS YOUR ROLE MODEL AND WHY? // Chuck Hughes, it was from him that i saw the true love and passion for food going into a dish and have strived for that ever since.
WHAT IS YOUR FAVOURITE JOURNEY AND DESTINATION? // The south of France has definitely got my heart for this one.
WHAT IS THE LAST GIFT YOU GAVE SOMEONE? // A day off.
WHAT IS YOUR MOST TREASURED POSSESSION? // My knives.
WHAT ADVICE WOULD YOU GIVE CHILDREN? // To never ask me for advice probably.
WHAT KEEPS YOU UP AT NIGHT? // When something goes wrong in a service in the restaurant or realizing you've forgot an order from one of the suppliers.
YOUR WORST TRAIT? // My gut.
THE WORST TRAIT IN OTHERS THAT GETS YOU MAD? // A lack of passion.
YOUR FAVOURITE MOVIES? // Fear and loathing, Donnie brasco
FAVOURITE MUSIC // Hip hop.
LAST RECORD / DOWNLOAD YOU BOUGHT? // Jay Z - Four.
FAVOURITE BOOK? // The Shantaram.
LAST BOOK YOU BOUGHT? // Bistronomy.
THE CLOSEST YOU HAVE COME TO DEATH? // I once broke my neck when I was 12 years old. I'd say thats pretty close.
HOW DO YOU RELAX? // By throwing on one of the 75 series that are out and everyones talking about.
BEACH OR DESERT? // Beach.
URBAN OR RURAL? // Urban.
CATS OR DOGS? // Dogs.
COFFEE OR TEA? // Coffee.
WHAT MAKES YOU LAUGH? // When other industries complain about their working hours.
WHATS MAKES YOU CRY? // Taxi drivers.