Beyond borders with Fermin Azuke, group executive chef Salvaje

Beyond borders with Fermin Azuke, group executive chef Salvaje

Globetrotting Venezuelian chef Fermin Azuke is group executive chef and partner of Salvaje, an innovative concept that redefines Japanese cuisine. Here, he shares his experiences in the culinary world and what motivates him in the kitchen.

 What experiences have shaped your approach to cooking?

Undoubtedly, my culinary journey has been significantly influenced by my travels and diverse cultural experiences. Throughout my exploration of different countries, I’ve immersed myself in various culinary traditions. I’ve also mastered unique ingredients and techniques that enrich my skill set. Consequently, these experiences not only expanded my palate but also deepened my understanding and appreciation of global cuisines. I continually fuel my passion for the art of cooking.

 What can you tell us about the impact of working at renowned restaurants in America, Spain, France and England?

Each country has left a mark and made me into the chef I am today. Furthermore, the friendships and mentorships in each place have played pivotal roles in my development. Moreover, beyond culinary knowledge, I gained a profound understanding of cultural and culinary traditions. Consequently, I am grateful for the lasting impact these unique experiences continue to have on my career.

 What are the challenges of being a chef and partner at Salvaje Group compared to just the chef?

The distinction between a chef and a chef-partner lies in additional responsibilities and involvement in business management. While a chef concentrates on culinary operations, a chef-partner assumes roles in administration, strategic decision making and financial oversight. This demands not only culinary expertise but also business acumen and leadership skills. Consequently, the chef-partner’s comprehensive approach ensures success beyond the kitchen, a role I effectively undertake at Salvaje.

 Salvaje has been successfully launched internationally. Why did you decide to launch Salvaje Dubai?

Choosing Dubai for Salvaje made sense; Dubai is an emerging culinary hot spot and strategically positioned as a gateway to the Middle East and Asia. Indeed, the emirate offers vast opportunities for expansion. Consequently, establishing Salvaje here embraces the city’s dynamic environment, introducing the brand to a diverse demographic. Additionally, this decision aligns with our vision of global recognition and steady growth.

 Salvaje Dubai is described as a fabric that combines tradition, design and quality. What are the unique elements of Salvaje Dubai?

Salvaje Dubai boasts a prime location, directly across from the Burj Khalifa. It offers the largest capacity among Salvaje restaurants, accommodating up to 600 guests. Furthermore, the addition of a lively lounge, Amore by Salvaje, enhances the experience. Consequently, this multifaceted offering ensures a unique ambience, combining exquisite dining, stunning views and vibrant entertainment.

 What are your plans for Salvaje? 

Salvaje has ambitious expansion plans, with upcoming ventures in Abu Dhabi and Riyadh, targeting a new audience. Additionally, we aim to establish a strong presence in key U.S. cities, including Chicago, New York, Dallas and Atlanta. Consequently, these efforts underscore our commitment to sharing the distinctive Salvaje experience with communities worldwide. Furthermore, we eagerly anticipate unveiling more about our journey as it unfolds.


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About author

Rita Ghantous

Rita Ghantous is a hospitality aficionado and a passionate writer with over 9 years’ experience in journalism and 5 years experience in the hospitality sector. Her passion for the performance arts and writing, started early. At 10 years old she was praised for her solo performance of the Beatles song “All My Love” accompanied by a guitarist, and was approached by a French talent scout during her school play. However, her love for writing was stronger. Fresh out of school, she became a freelance journalist for Noun Magazine and was awarded the Silver Award Cup for Outstanding Poetry, by The International Library of Poetry (Washington DC). She studied Business Management and earned a Masters degree from Saint Joseph University (USJ), her thesis was published in the Proche-Orient, Études en Management book. She then pursued a career in the hospitality industry but didn’t give up writing, that is why she launched the Four Points by Sheraton Le Verdun Newsletter. Her love for the industry and journalism led her to Hospitality Services - the organizers of the HORECA trade show in Lebanon, Saudi Arabia, Kuwait and Jordan, as well as Salon Du Chocolat, Beirut Cooking Festival, Whisky Live and other regional shows. She is currently the Publications Executive of Hospitality News Middle East, Taste & Flavors and Lebanon Traveler. It is with ultimate devotion for her magazines that she demonstrates her hospitality savoir-faire.

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