Chef Eka Mochamad, chef de cuisine, Bateaux Dubai, who was a runner up in the S.Pellegrino Young Chef 2016 regional challenge this year reveals his career ambitions
How did it feel to be named as a runner up in the S. Pellegrino Young Chef regional finals?
I was really happy with the overall experience and it was an honour to be among the top three. It certainly was an unforgettable moment, and it was a pleasure to meet all the great chefs that represented the Middle East and Africa. The way I see it, they all deserved to win!
Describe your first ever role in the F&B industry?
To this day I still remember my first role very well. I had the chance to join a great team at Atlantis The Palm. Working with that group of amazing chefs helped me grow my passion for the culinary field and I’m thankful to everyone along the way who I had the opportunity to learn from.
Who has inspired you most in your career?
It’s been a great journey for me so far. I’ve enjoyed working with various chefs and have adopted their methods into my own dishes. Some of them include: Patrik Havlicek, Shane O’neill, Alex Pernetta, Cyril Calmet and chef Eric Briffard. They have each had a hand in teaching me the basics, without which it’s impossible to learn.
How do you view the F&B scene in the region?
The F&B offer in Dubai is extremely attractive. Dubai offers multicultural cuisines, all of which have their own unique taste, ambience and experience. I am confident this makes the UAE the most attractive country for food lovers.
What is the biggest challenge of your role?
Guests have a big imagination when it comes to food; they expect to be treated with the unexpected and that is one of my main challenges. It’s important to understand your guest’s needs and expectations in order to provide them with the desired dish that will make them come back for more.
What are your plans for Bateaux Dubai this year?
Bateaux Dubai is a unique concept and an established experience that provides guests with unforgettable memories, while they celebrate and enjoy a dinner experience on Dubai Creek. I’m keen to keep this exceptional tradition going by incorporating new cuisine elements, such as seasonal dishes and new menus that enhance the overall experience. We have just created a refreshing new menu, which combines Middle Eastern, Asian and Mediterranean gastronomy and provides a unique experience for guests.
If you could work in any restaurant in the world which would it be?
Le Cinq at the Four Seasons Hotel George V, Paris.
What tip would you share with new staff starting out in the F&B industry in the region?
The culinary field is a playground and one with no barriers, so I say dream big. I would advise budding chefs to aim to achieve their goals, no matter what. We make mistakes and that is part of being human, but in the end you have to learn from your mistakes and show how creative and passionate you are with the dishes you present.
January 2016 – present: Chef de cuisine, Bateaux Dubai
March 2013 – December 2015: Chef, Jumeirah Messilah Beach Hotel, Kuwait
August 2011 – February 2013: Chef, Shangri-La and Traders Qaryat Alberi, Abu Dhabi