Marwan Sardouk – Private Chef in Dubai from Lebanon. More about his story here.

Before you moved in 2011 as Executive Chef to Dubai; you grow up, learned to be and wored a chef in Lebanon?

I started working as a chef to take care of my mother , after my father passed away when I was 16 years old , I used to see my mom cooking for my dad and I loved to stay stay and help her and it was something I loved to do and it was a passion. I did work from Mediterranean cusine and street food to make money before 18 years old to pay for my school as well. And I’ve got an opportunity to work under Alain ducasse team on the age of 19 , this is when I got the experience of pastry as well and everything from the basics including food technology and I have done some consultancy and work with Michelin star chefs like bruno Dreyer on young age helping him out opening new French and Restaurants, I quite Alain ducasse after the war happened in 2006. I opened my own savory and pastry shop Macaron and more on the age of 24 with a help of a friend in some investments and it was well known in Lebanon if you check on YouTube and write my name, and I close it due to the bad situation in Lebanon.

Can you tell us something about the chef school system in Lebanon?

I studied kitchen and hotel management by my self working and having experience in the afternoon and studying in the morning , I always tried to work for free and trainee in several places having faith that I will get to the point where I am right now by working hard on my self , there was a very large competition in Lebanon but all my focus was on my self grabbing opportunities and believe that I should stop and move on to learn new things on my young age cause one day I have to settle in the right place.

I learned a lot of basic things about hospitality in school and always thinking outside the box hoe to improve it and do something had never been done before and imagining my self that I’m going to be the hero of my self after a small period or target in my mind.

How would you describe/ summarize the Lebanese kitchen?

Lebanese kitchen I believe it’s one of the most delicious food on earth , due to unique cultural history that helped to make Lebanese food the most popular of all Middle Eastern cuisines. For most of its past, Lebanon has been ruled by foreign powers that have influenced the types of food the Lebanese ate. the Ottoman controlled Lebanon and introduced a variety of foods that have become staples in the Lebanese diet, including olive oil, fresh bread, baklava , laban , stuffed vegetables, and a variety of nuts. The Lebanese themselves have also helped to bring foods of other cultures into their diet. Ancient tribes journeyed throughout the Middle East, carrying with them food that would not spoil easily, such as rice and dates. These foods slowly became part of the Lebanese diet. As the tribes wandered, they discovered new seasonings, fruits, and vegetables that they could add to their everyday meals. Exotic ingredients from the Far East (east and southeast Asia) and other areas of the world were often discovered by these early tribes.

Private Chef in Dubai

The Lebanese kitchen offers fine cuisine with French influences. What are the latest trends a the Lebanese kitchen?

French cuisine is my passion and when you have a good basic information of Mediterranean cuisine with its spices and ingredients and present it in a French style and French cooking procedures, will create something unique and depends on the chef how he mix ingredients and flavors. Everyday there is something trendy and new chefs should always stay alert and create new ideas it’s all about social media and and ideas at this time food taste and flavor it’s not the main for some people. This is why we should always work on traditional way of cooking and present it in a modern way with a new experience.

How would you describe your todays own culinary line/ specialisation?

I have a very long experience and a good food technology and I did learn everything from basics , and I am working on a very beautiful concept Iraqi fine dining using the Mesopotamian ancient ingredients and flavors with long process and new ideas and present it in a deferent experience and modern crazy style. And I don’t think their is a similar concept and I always search and I will search to do something completely deferent from others and creating ideas by thinking outside the box.

In 2011 you moved to Dubai as Executive Pastry Chef. In what sense is the Pastry in Dubai different from the Pastry in Lebanon?

When I came to Dubai for food tasting as executive pastry chef the only thing that help me that I did learn how to create my own recipes and work everything from basics . For example I did my own pastes and syrups and glazes , to know exactly flour what I should use and how to work with the ingredients not with the brands. For the chef he should know exactly the history of each ingredients before he starts using it.

In 2012 you worked in Dubai as Production Manager with Damac Hospitality. What was the work behind d this job; and what was your learning out of it, which still helps you today?

Working as a production manager teach me to do a proper paper work and handle a group of chefs with deferent nationalities and controls the production in hide central production units, also help me to know more about Middleast ingredients and specs and how to deal with it as well managerial experience including logistics , suppliers, operations and menu engineering , but I loved again to work as a chef cause it’s my passion to be in the kitchen after learning what was missing to be an idle chef.

Since last year you work again for the BinHendi Enteprice, one of the leading and business conglomerates engaged in general trading, hospitality, fashion, real estate, watches and jewellery, construction, media and advertising. in the UAE, as Group Executive chef. Do you still feel your work as a chef; or more as a manager?

As I Said before working with my bare hands and teaching chefs and creating new ideas is my passion , I never loved to wear a suit and sit on the desk for more than 15 minutes and I had noticed that when I used to wear the suit I suddenly realize my self in the kitchen putting the apron on and doing the chef job.

The BinHendi group offers under his roof several restaurant such a s French, Lebanese, Chinese and lots of others. How do you manage to create personal dishes / menus in such a wide range of restaurants?

Delegating your job in a huge operation and managing your day and you upcoming month a head before and being Organized will do the job. That doesn’t mean that you should not have a key players in your team and a proper structure, we used to have a lot of good chefs in the team an we always gather our ideas and come up with something we all agree on.

Marwan Sardouk – Private Chef

Dubai become so international in sense of offered food and restaurants. Do you still see a marked gap for a type of food/ restaurant.. which is not offered yet in Dubai?

Dubai is a central business place at the moment and everyday I wake up I see a new concept and a new trend , everything have positive and negative in this life I can tell you about one each.

The positive thing that there is always a competition in Dubai which keeps the chefs mind working all the time with ideas and new concepts like a train moving and when it moves fast we all have to follow the train and who doesn’t have to jump.

And the negative thing that I can feel it that the traditional food was dead , the traditional flavor , everything is more in to ideas and experience. And 30% taste.

Thank you.