Dubai, a city known for its opulence and luxury, has established itself as a global culinary hub, attracting food enthusiasts from around the world. Behind the scenes of Dubai’s thriving food scene are the culinary masterminds who have crafted a unique blend of international flavors while celebrating the local Emirati cuisine. In an exclusive interview, we sat down with one of Dubai’s renowned celebrity chefs, Chef Zara Al-Mansoori, to unravel the secrets to her culinary success and to discover her favorite local dishes.
With a charming smile and an aura of confidence, Chef Zara Al-Mansoori welcomed us into her elegant restaurant overlooking the stunning Dubai Marina. As we settled in, she began sharing her journey to culinary stardom.
Chef Zara Al-Mansoori was born and raised in Dubai, a place where her love for food blossomed. She described her culinary journey as a natural evolution. “My family has always been passionate about cooking,” she said. “Growing up, our home was a constant celebration of flavors, and I was drawn to the art of cooking from a very young age.”
Chef Zara’s training took her to some of the world’s finest culinary schools in Europe and Asia, where she learned the art of combining global ingredients with local influences, which is at the heart of her success today. “I realized early on that to succeed as a chef, you must understand the balance between honoring local traditions and embracing international culinary trends,” she explained.
Dubai’s culinary scene is indeed a melting pot of global flavors. When asked about her favorite aspect of working in Dubai, Chef Zara highlighted the rich diversity of ingredients and culinary traditions. “Dubai offers an endless canvas for chefs to experiment and create something unique. The fusion of cultures and flavors here is unparalleled.”
One of the secrets to her success, she revealed, is her passion for learning. “Culinary trends are constantly evolving, and you have to stay ahead of the curve. Whether it’s mastering traditional Emirati recipes or experimenting with international ingredients, I believe in continuous learning.”
When it comes to her favorite local dishes, Chef Zara’s eyes lit up. “Emirati cuisine is close to my heart,” she said. “I love the traditional dish ‘Al Harees,’ a slow-cooked blend of wheat and meat. The texture and flavor are unique, and it’s a dish that truly reflects the Emirati culture.” She also expressed her fondness for ‘Machbous,’ a fragrant spiced rice dish with tender meat, and ‘Luqaimat,’ sweet dumplings that are a favorite for dessert.
During the interview, Chef Zara Al-Mansoori shared three valuable tips for aspiring chefs looking to make a mark in the culinary world:
Respect Tradition: “Never underestimate the power of local traditions. Embrace them and find innovative ways to present them in a modern context.”
Quality over Quantity: “In the culinary world, it’s always about quality, not quantity. Use the finest ingredients and take your time to perfect your dishes.”
Never Stop Learning: “Culinary arts are always evolving. Stay updated with the latest trends, attend workshops, and always be open to new experiences and flavors.”
As the interview came to a close, Chef Zara Al-Mansoori left us with a final thought: “Success in the culinary world is about passion, persistence, and creativity. Dubai is a city that rewards innovation, so never stop exploring, and your journey will be as exciting as the flavors you create.”
Chef Zara Al-Mansoori’s story is a testament to the culinary excellence that thrives in Dubai. Her dedication to preserving Emirati traditions while embracing global influences has made her a celebrity chef of note. Her secrets to success serve as an inspiration to aspiring chefs worldwide, and her love for local dishes like ‘Al Harees’ and ‘Machbous’ reminds us of the rich and diverse tapestry that is Dubai’s culinary scene.