Antony Francis – Head Chef at McGettigan’s Irish Pub, Bonnington Jumeirah Lakes Towers
In his college days Antony Francis cooked a lot for his friends. And they loved it. So his passion for cooking was inflamed. After graduating from the Institute of Management Studies, he made his first steps in his career as a professional chef. Today he works as Head Chef in Dubai – a culinary hotspot!
Antony Francis – Chef’s Portrait
Antony, after many years experience as a chef, you now work as a Head Chef at McGettigan’s Bonnington Tower Jumeirah in Dubai. How did your career as a chef begin? Why did you become a chef?
During my childhood days, I discovered that I had some passion in cooking. Most of the time, I was around the kitchen observing how my mum used to cook. I could learn and master most of the things she used to show and teach me.
When I reached college, I remember my friends used to host in-house parties and my contributory task is to cook. Everyone loved the food that I prepared. From then on, I knew exactly what I wanted to do.
Where does your passion for cooking come from?
With the hard economic times, a job was not easy to come by. I had to apply for various positions and acquired my first job as a cashier. But I knew I have to go behind my dream. So, i quit that job and pursue more than just being a common cook. I decided to go to a culinary institution to hone my skills and develop my passion for food into a professional career.
Which culinary school did you go to?
I went to IMS – Institute of Management Studies in India where I learned how food is prepared using the right recipe, create a menu; I was guided step by step. When I cleared college, it was time to join the real employment industry.
At the beginning of your career as a chef, you moved to Dubai. What makes Dubai so interesting for you to work there as a chef?
Cultural diversity and expertise I would say. There are so many talented Chefs that I have come across coming from different parts of the world and also learned from them different cooking techniques. Dubai provides a good fundamental learning experience to all young aspiring chefs who want to grow in their career.
Since Dubai has become an international culinary hotspot; the competition is increasing. What is the secret to succeed as a chef in Dubai?
Be innovative and challenged for constant change in culinary trends.
Many foreign chefs are interested in working as chefs in Dubai. Is it difficult to find a job in Dubai these days?
With the multi-cultural environment and with so many talented chefs in Dubai, I believe through hard work and a burning passion in this industry will bring you here with a new great opportunity. Just follow your dreams and don’t be scared to be different in your approach to your work as that will fundamentally set you apart from the rest.
Regional, seasonal, fusion… there are many different developments in the culinary world. Which current and upcoming trends do you see in Dubai?
I think it will go more into healthy fast food because I can see that people are becoming more conscious about their dietary requirements. Right at our restaurant door we can see a lot of guest who are looking into vegan and gluten free diet.
As a Head Chef at McGettigan’s Bonnington Tower Jumeirah in Dubai – what is the culinary set up there?
It’s a modern gastro Irish British pub, where we more concentrate on steaks & burgers.
How would you describe your own culinary style today?
Simple, traditional, authentic and I am curious of learning new methods & trends which is everyday something new out there in industry.
Where do you get your inspiration for new creations?
Honestly, I don’t want set aside the traditional recipe due to its authenticity but I would also like to experiment and give a twist to the food taking up trend inspiration from the social media.
What are some of the lesser-known spices that you use in cooking?
- Ghost Chili
And what lesser-known vegetables?
What are some of your unique cooking techniques?
I like barding which preserves the interior juiciness and moisture of the meat by wrapping the exterior in a layer of crusty fat and curing which preserves food and prevents spoilage. These both techniques back date in history and still widely used in this modern generation.
Are there places in the world where you want to work as a chef one day? (looking for a new challenge → international job offers)
Some country in Europe; specifically, Italy and Spain which I would definitely give an experience one day.
Thanks a lot, Chef Antony!
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