Executive Chef Recep Macit, a Turkish national, has 22 years of culinary experience, 10 of which are in the UAE.
Can you give us a glimpse of your career journey so far?
When I graduated from high school, I realised that I had an interest in cooking. After a bit of research, I found out about the Chef Scholl in my country, for which you needed to pass an exam and went for it. Over one year, I studied basic cooking skills and learned about the hotelier lifestyle.
After this graduation, it was off to a rough start, but my love for the job kept me going. My biggest career journey was with Rixos Hotels in Turkey, Kazakhstan, Libya and finally here in the UAE for a total of 15 years. I am currently executive chef at the Marjan Resort & Spa.
What’s your favourite dish to eat and why?
My favourite dish is vine leaves dolma with meat; it’s my mum’s recipe – she was doing magic! However, after I tasted biryani I have changed my mind; it’s fragrant and delicious. I like Indian food in general, such as butter chicken, but can’t eat spicy food.
What are you cooking up today? Tell us more about the dish.
The dish is Hunkar Begendi; it’s a historical, authentic food with an original recipe. Now, as for the origins of Sultan’s Delight, the dish was first prepared for Sultan Murad IV (1612-1640); the name is Hünkârbeğendi, or simply beğendi (it means that the sultan liked it), and is an Ottoman cuisine dish. It’s made from smoked and spiced eggplant, which is grilled, then pureed, and stirred with milk, melted butter and roasted flour. Finally, the mixture is topped with cubes of sautéed lamb.
As a chef, what are the top ingredients and products you’re using these days?
There are many of ingredients, but mainly fresh white fish fillet like cod and hammour, in addition to meat spices, quinoa, fresh herbs, chia seeds, etc.
What are some of the most recent important food trends you can tell us about?
Healthy food, vegetarian food, and Lebanese modern cuisine.
What would you advise suppliers and foodservice professionals who are looking to offer their best to the market and meet demand?
The most important thing for both sides is food safety, hygiene, quality, consistency and availability.