We took time out to discuss French gastronomy with Christophe Prud’homme, executive head chef of Millennium Plaza Downtown Dubai, who was recently recognized as a “Master Chef” by Maîtres Cuisiniers de France.
What can you tell us about your culinary journey?
Fueled by the rich tapestry of my family heritage rooted in a farm, where the essence of food permeated, the passion for coming together and the joy of sharing memorable moments with delicious food became the driving forces of my culinary journey.
Bizarrely, I had no intentions of entering the hospitality industry at first. Moreover, I didn’t intend to become a distinguished chef. However, my perspective shifted when I met Meilleurs Ouvriers de France chef Jean François Langevin. Not only did he open my eyes to the art, but he also bestowed upon me a chef’s knife — a symbolic and professional gift representing the culinary craft. In that transformative moment, I found my calling and decided to pursue a career in hospitality. My dreams and vision materialized, and thus, I embraced the path of a chef.
How has the recognition of UAE delegate “Master Chef” by Maîtres Cuisiniers de France influenced your culinary philosophy and approach to French cuisine?
Receiving recognition from colleagues in French and international culinary arenas is a source of pride and honor for me. I have dedicated 35 years to cooking and traveling the world, experiencing the excitement of diverse countries. Thus, this accolade serves as the crowning achievement. Being chosen as the delegate for Maîtres Cuisiniers de France is a great responsibility, which allows me to contribute to, support and guide others along the path I inherited.
Graciously invited by the UAE, I am immensely proud to accept their invitation as a guest. Additionally, my focus moving forward is to synchronize the culinary strengths of France throughout the entire country. I also plan to represent my homeland with unwavering pride.
What distinguishes traditional French culinary techniques others?
Traditional French culinary techniques are distinguished by their emphasis on precision, meticulous preparation and respect for the quality of ingredients. Furthermore, French cuisine has deep historical roots and the contributions of numerous renowned chefs shaped culinary history. Thus, providing the foundation for culinary basics and techniques. Notably, as the world continues to evolve, the universal need for sustenance persists.
In the present day, our guests exhibit a greater openness to explore and savor international products and flavors. Additionally, their expectations and aspirations in the realm of culinary experiences vary widely therefore this commitment to terroir ensures that dishes are not only delicious but also reflect the unique characteristics of the local produce.
How do you plan to evaluate France’s presence in the UAE’s gastronomic landscape?
The UAE is currently poised to attract an even greater number of global citizens. Consequently, French presence is on the rise due, in part, to the allure of the country’s hospitality, its strategic marketing efforts and safety record. Moreover, the inclusivity of this city extends to the realm of cuisine. Thus, the culinary landscape aims to reflect the preferences of all residents. France, being one of these influences, is proudly represented by us: French ambassadors on UAE soil. We are enthusiastic about extending a warm welcome to our fellow countrymen, and we take immense pride in representing our homeland.
Moreover, France is eager to showcase its rich culinary heritage and offerings in this dynamic setting. The representation of Maitres Cuisiniers de France holds particular significance, serving as a crucial element in highlighting an ethical and esteemed culinary presence.
What initiatives or changes do you hope to introduce to the culinary landscape in the future, both at the hotel and beyond?
Certainly, the world is increasingly directing its attention toward global well-being, sustainability and environmental consciousness. In alignment with this shift, my aim is to enhance and bolster local food supply. Alongside the team at Millenium Plaza Downtown Hotel Dubai, I am committed to supporting initiatives like Watermelon, thereby contributing to the delivery of authentic, healthy produce. Furthermore, drawing on my background in farming and hospitality, I hope to bridge these two worlds. Through these efforts, I anticipate positive outcomes that will resonate for generations to come.