Alper Uzundurukan – executive chef at Dusty’s Dubai
Alper Uzundurukan – executive chef at Dusty’s Dubai. About the underestimated Turkish cuisine and his work as executive chef in Dubai.
As young Executive Chef in Dubai today you have already in impressive chef career, with different chef positions in Istanbul, Doha and Dubai. Where did your journey as chef began/ which cooking school did you visit?
I started my culinary education in Turkey when I was 14 years old and i graduated when I was 18. I have learned very basics of cooking and culture of being chef and how to have a life style related to cooking.
The Turkish kitchen is very interesting; as it is a mix of east and west, and traditional and modern. Can you showcase your modern interpretation of the Turkish cuisine?
To be honest with you I strongly believe that unfortunately Turkish Cuisine is one of the most underrated cuisines in the world. As you mentioned it has a bit from every where. Turkish culture is so sophisticated because several different nations used to live on that main land and every one of them kept their cooking methods and recipes for thousands of years. What i think would bring it up on the stage where it normally belongs is to work more efficient and look for the science behind it.
At the beginning of your chef career you worked as chef for ZUMA in Istanbul. What was your greatest learning out of this time, that still helps you today?
I worked as a jr for Zuma when i was 18 right after the chef school. I was working with a genuine chef from Japan and she was unbelievably dedicated to her work. She was a proper perfectionist. She thought me how to concentrate, how to be passion and great hand skills such as knife sharpening. But at the end I have seen that everything is connected to each other like a chain. So Zuma showed me how to not break the chain.
Your chef career at the middle east started in Doha/ Qatar as Chef at The Cultural Village Foundation of Qatar. What was the culinary direction in that time?
I was cooking modern Turkish food with chef Baran Yucel from Turkey. He had a very strong team on that concept and he knew how to use it in a good way. It was a challenging 2 years of my career which i wouldn’t regret to say one of my best.
How would you describe your culinary line?
When new comers or new friends ask me what do i cook in the restaurant, I always say “I cook honest food”. You get what you exactly read on the menu. Food is always fresh and checked several time by the team. Menu planning is always based on season and freshness.
Dubai became a culinary melting pot, with an international gastronomic scene. What are the latest trends in Dubai’s gastronomic scene?
Chefs started to look for local produce more then before which is very good for small food producing investments and brands. I can say that most of the chefs are being careful to keep their food simple on presentation and mouth watering on taste. Thats what I also like.
Today you work as executive chef for Dusty’s in Dubai; a very stylish and trendy bar restaurant. What is your culinary set up/ direction here?
Dustys menu is our masterpiece and I am proud of what we are doing here. It is a very good team work. I serve from all around the world such as Italy, France, India, Turkey etc. I am following the season on the A la Carte Menu and we have monthly Business Lunch Menu. In addition i do mediterranean and north african breakfast every working day. We do brunches on Fridays and it is one of the most popular in town.
The Dusty’s is as well quite open and innovative. On their Facebook page they ask the quests “Tell us, what’s your favourite dish at Dusty’s Dubai “. How does this feedback effect your work as Executive chef?
Customers are always been most imported decision mechanism for my menu. I get the comments from them on every portal as well as on the tables to combine and see what do they like and what is not really shining for them. We always check what our regulars think and what do they really want to eat here when I make new menu.
From where do you get your inspirations from new menus?
Everywhere you can imagine. Every edible item makes me think.
As lots of chefs would like to work as well in Dubai; which why they should go: find the entrance in Dubai direct, with an agency or best with some of the international hotels?
I think every body can make their own reference with a trial schedule. Dubai offers a good life for chefs but it is not free and easy to get it. My suggestion is to not waste any money and time with an agency. If anyone wants to come and live here as a chef create your own chance and take a little risk by your own. I mean come and do trials by take a risk. I am not saying take risk to come here illegally.
Any place in the world you would like to work as chef one day?
Tokyo and Toronto.
Thank you for your time Alper Uzundurukan.