Gulfood Chef Uwe Micheel wins lifetime achievement Award
From Farm to Cork: Chef Uwe Micheel Celebrates Prestigious Lifetime Achievement Award in 2018
Following more than 40 years of service to the international culinary arts scene, Chef Uwe Micheel has been awarded the prestigious Lifetime Achievement Award at the BNC Leaders in Hospitality Awards 2018.
As President of The Emirates Culinary Guild, Chef Uwe Micheel is best known for his role spearheading Salon Culinaire, the world’s largest single entry chefs’ competition hosted annually at Gulfood. Beating off stiff competition, Micheel’s longstanding contribution to the industry and successful role as Director of Kitchens at Radisson Blu Dubai Deira Creek finally sealed his victory on Sunday 29 April 2018, when he swooped the iconic Lifetime Achievement accolade during a glittering ceremony at the St. Regis Hotel in Dubai. Here we take the opportunity to dig a little deeper into what drives and inspires the devoted Chef.
Q: Growing up in Germany, do you recall an early preference for international flavours?
A: As a farmer’s boy I grew up in a small village where we had no access to International flavours. Whatever was produced in the farm was what we had on the table. Just simple, great food. I am still in love with good quality German sausage. But my first experience with international flavours was in a Chinese Restaurant. I just loved the taste of Sweet and Sour.
Q: You speak about having cooked with your Mother growing up and you continue to seek out the traditional methods of home cooks as a way to create authentic restaurant cuisine. How has this impacted your culinary style?
A: I believe it is important not to lose the authentic dishes that are the culture of every country. It’s important to protect that. If I call a restaurant Japanese, it has to be authentic. But the market trends of the moment include a lot of fusion food which can sometimes be a confusion.
Q: What has been the number one defining moment in your career so far?
A: The most important for me was the launching of the Young Chef Scholarship Program at ICCA.
The Young Chefs Scholarship Program is a one million dirham apprenticeship scheme for young UAE industry chefs. The initiative trains and supports scores of talented & deserving, but financially underprivileged young chefs through its Annual Continuing Education Award.
Q: Three years ago you opened the hugely successful Emirati restaurant, Aseelah in Dubai. What is driving the demand for Middle Eastern cuisine across the globe?
A: Middle Eastern People are everywhere around the Globe. Of course they have taken their food with them and introduced Middle Eastern cuisine to their adopted home countries.
Q: How does Emirati cuisine differ from Lebanese or Iranian food?
A: We are talking about three very different cuisines. For example there is no Mezzeh in traditional Emirati Cuisine. Emirati food is influenced more by Indian and Pakistani culinary traditions than by those of Lebanon, due to origins of the traders and settlers who landed in the UAE. Of course there are also strong influences from Iran.
Q: What do you look for when you hire a new Chef?
A: Two things; attitude and passion.
Q: How do you turn a meal into an experience?
A: I focus on the quality of the food; the tastes, the flavours, the textures - how it looks and smells. But for a great experience, I see the company at the dinner table as being equally important.
Q: What are the most important factors that determine restaurant success, besides food quality?
A: Location, atmosphere, service and yes, as it all has to work together, lately the price and discounts have become important. As well as your social media ranking.
Q: Have you witnessed any changes as local hotels and restaurants prepare for Dubai World Expo 2020?
A: The biggest change in town is the number of outlets increasing. The expectations in the market for 2020 are very high.
Q: What do you value most about attending food events?
A: It depends on the event. In most food festivals we have the chance to experience new dishes. It’s always great to learn about different cuisines.
Q: Do you have any unfulfilled ambitions?
A: There are lots of places where I would still like to travel with my wife, to experience different food and cultures. But in general life has been good to me, giving me the opportunity to experience more than I ever dreamt possible as a boy on the farm.
Q: What was the last meal you cooked for yourself and how would you rate it?
I do cook regularly for myself and my wife. The last meal was actually a little pasta dish with lots of fresh vegetables, topped with a piece of salmon for my wife and (of course) sausage for me. A great meal, I’d give it 9.5 out of 10!
We are proud to welcome Chef Uwe to the Chef’s Education training platform at GulfHost 2018. Find out more.