El Sur head chef Juan Carlos says steady progression is key to success in the region’s F&B industry
Describe your first ever role in the F&B industry?
My first role in the F&B industry was washing dishes while I was studying in Andorra, Spain. It’s a very laborious job and makes you appreciate how important a good pot washer is in the kitchen. I had to do it to pay for my schooling, but it taught me valuable lessons.
Who has inspired you most in your career?
Ferran Adria has inspired me throughout my career. He has a very unique way of thinking and working; he breaks the rules and thinks outside the box, and is always looking for an answer to everything. He is very organised and has a well-established system in the kitchen.
How do you view the F&B scene in the region?
The evolution of Dubai’s F&B scene is outstanding. There are lots of new restaurants with fresh ideas and innovative concepts, however I think that some restaurants need to better define themselves, otherwise it feels like potpourri, with too many ideas under one roof.
What is the biggest challenge of your role?
My biggest challenge is to achieve consistent quality of our dishes. It is also important to be aware of the growing F&B industry here in the region as we need to remain competitive and attractive to our existing customers, while enticing new visitors to try our offering.
What is your favourite aspect of the role?
There are ups and downs to opening a new restaurant but the experience was really exciting. It evokes all kinds of emotions, but it’s enriching to start a restaurant from scratch and create a popular place.
If you could work in any restaurant in the world, which would it be?
A concept that has taken my interest is Sukiyabashi Jiro, a three-Michelin-starred sushi restaurant in Japan.
What’s your tip for F&B talent starting out?
Be patient. People want to grow and advance as quickly as possible in this industry, which is ok, but it is important to learn key skills along the way so that you grow your knowledge as well as advancing in your career.