Maher Yamout, from Lebanon, is R&D executive chef at Somewhere restaurant, which is located in The Dubai Mall. The chef has 15 years of culinary experience, two of which are in the UAE.
Can you give us a glimpse of your career journey so far?
I have always loved food and took up the profession 15 years ago. I’m now a R&D executive chef, which I absolutely enjoy as I get to experiment with food on a daily basis.
What’s your favourite dish and why?
My favourite dish is Kousa Mehshe (stuffed zucchini) because it always reminds me of my childhood when my grandmother used to make it for me. It’s a traditional Lebanese dish which I still love to cook.
What are you cooking up today? Please tell us more about the dish.
Today, I’m making a dish that fuses two cuisines: Mexican, as it’s very similar to beef fajitas and Italian as it contains tomato coulis. The dish consists of tenderloin beef strips marinated in a variety of spices, then cooked with onion, some herbs and finished off with BUITONI tomato coulis, to make it flavoursome. This is served in the centre of a crown of creamy mashed potato.
As a chef, what are the top ingredients and products you’re using these days?
Today, kale is one of the main ingredients I’m experimenting with, and finding new applications for. I have already used it in many fusion dishes such as tabbouleh.
What are some of the most recent, important food trends you can tell us about?
The main trend I see is adding twists to classic dishes to either be unique or ride the wave. A play on a classic dish that I have created was using shawarma. Instead of a classic sandwich, I turned it into a plat de jour of beetroot beef shawarma, served over rice.
What would you advise suppliers and foodservice professionals who are looking to offer their best to the market and meet demand?
I would advise them to provide consistent, high-quality solutions at competitive prices.