Marwan Sardouk, the corporate chef and culinary director of Amai gourmet restaurants, is a master at blending French, Lebanese and Japanese influences.
How did your international culinary experiences in Paris, Singapore and Saudi Arabia impact your perspective on food and cooking?
My international culinary experiences have had a profound impact on my perspective on food and cooking. Working in Paris provided me with the opportunity to learn from esteemed French chefs. They shared their culinary expertise and enhanced my appreciation for the artistry and precision defining French cuisine. Consequently, this experience broadened my culinary horizons. It also provided me with a solid foundation in classical French cooking techniques.
In Singapore, I had the privilege of working alongside 12 Michelin-starred chefs. It was an experience that significantly enriched my culinary skills and knowledge. The exposure to the diverse and vibrant culinary scene in Singapore allowed me to immerse myself in a wide array of flavors, ingredients and cooking styles. Working with such accomplished chefs also taught me the importance of meticulous attention to detail and innovation in culinary creations.
Furthermore, my time in Dubai provided me with the opportunity to delve into the rich and varied culinary traditions of the region. It subsequently allowed me to gain a deeper understanding of Middle Eastern cuisine. From the vibrant spices to the traditional cooking methods, I learned it all. Working in Dubai offered me insights into the cultural significance of food. I also learned about the art of hospitality and the role of communal dining in the region.
Overall, these international experiences have broadened my culinary knowledge and skills. It has also significantly shaped my perspective on food and cooking, reinforcing the notion that culinary excellence transcends borders. It has also deepened my respect for diverse culinary traditions around the world. These experiences have inspired my commitment to continuous learning and growth as a chef and preserving the unique culinary heritage of each region.
How do you blend French, Lebanese and Japanese influences to create a harmonious menu?
My culinary journey has greatly influenced and shaped my approach to creating a truly unique and memorable dining experience. Diligent training in Lebanese cuisine during my formative years laid the foundation for my culinary expertise and culinary journey.
The rich tapestry of flavors and spices in Lebanese cuisine has instilled in me a deep understanding of the importance of utilizing fresh ingredients, allowing their inherent qualities to shine. I have also learned the art of harmonizing a multitude of flavors within a single dish.
Furthermore, my love for Japanese cuisine stems from the utmost respect for the unparalleled quality and freshness of its ingredients. The precision and delicacy of Japanese culinary techniques have inspired me to approach cooking with acute mindfulness, ensuring that each element of a dish is treated with respect and care. This reverence for the innate flavors of ingredients and the art of simplicity has become an integral part of my culinary philosophy. Working alongside esteemed French chefs has allowed me to refine my techniques and elevate my understanding of culinary artistry.
The fusion of French, Lebanese and Japanese culinary influences allows me to seamlessly intertwine diverse elements in creating a unique menu. Each dish is a carefully curated expression of this amalgamation. Consequently, I utilize the basic ingredients and flavors from each tradition in a way that pays homage to its heritage. Furthermore, the menu reflects my unwavering dedication to celebrating and blending these influences, offering guests a memorable dining experience that speaks to the heart and soul of my culinary journey.
Are there any projects you are working on?
I’m currently working on Kata, a contemporary Japanese restaurant, while simultaneously opening new outlets in Jumeirah. There’s also my new TV show, The Kitchen by Chef Marwan, on the Discovery Channel.