DiningOut Dubai: How did your national influence affect your cooking style at the start of your career, and how does it now?
Michael Kreiling: It certainly affects it, as I come from a very small village in Germany with only a couple of thousand inhabitants living there. I was living directly near a big field of strawberries and we were growing beans, potatoes and everyday vegetables in my grandmother’s garden, so I knew where the produce originated from and how you have to handle it and work with it. I believe the basics, where you are coming from, is very important.
As you have worked in all parts of the kitchen at the start of your career, what is the best part about being a chef?
To be honest, you can say what you want and no one will be upset about it.
If you could give your younger self advice, what would it be?
To leave my own country earlier, in order to get more international experience. Not to stay in the comfort zone in Germany. I started quite late to seek an international career, as it’s always very easy to be home; hence the value of international experience is incredible. For me, I gained great international experience in London, and I suggest that the youngsters look for the key cities – Tokyo, New York, Rio – as it really influences your personality, and if you are in the hospitality sector, this will also influence your knowledge and your personal cooking style.
What do you think makes our food community unique in Dubai?
What I really like is that, in the end, the entire world can be found in Dubai. One can have everything – from basic restaurants to a Michelin-starred restaurant. The choices are unlimited.
Other than the restaurants you have worked for, what are some of your favourite Dubai food spots?
Firstly, I am really glad that the food truck “season” is back in Dubai. Secondly, in terms of restaurants, Marina Social is my absolute favourite, as well as the Bread Kitchen by Gordon Ramsay, which reminds me of my good old days in London.
What did you hope to bring to the culinary table at your restaurant?
As we are in an Arabic country, we have great Arabic Chef de Cuisine Fahad; I have learned a lot from his traditional Arabic recipes. I believe we have outstanding saj, and I personally love shish taouk – why not serve them at the restaurant?
What are some of your favourite dishes on the menu?
As we have so many different restaurants, it’s very difficult to highlight one dish before another one, but mentioning our signature Indian restaurant Bukhara, Chicken Tikka and Buttered Chicken and the outstanding Daal Bukhara are must-tries. And surely the best pasta and pizza in the Middle East is made at our organic Italian restaurant Sabella’s.
What do you hope people feel or experience by dining with you?
Our utmost aim is to create memorable experiences and that people will have fun whilst enjoying the dining experience.