Ever wondered who the face is behind the delicious dishes served aboard Emirates Airline flights?
Known for being the first Emirati chef at Emirates Flight Catering, Chef Saud Al Matrooshi has always had a passion for cooking, with his love for food starting at a young age and led him to work his way up the ranks to realise his dream.
From merging international flavours and ingredients with Arabic cooking, to now playing a main role in the creation of menus and in-flight catering at Emirates, Chef Saud is a great example of following your passions and making them a reality.
Having started out his journey as part of the marketing and management team at Dubai Creek Golf and Yacht Club, to becoming a Group Sous Chef, all the years of working around the world from UAE, Thailand and USA, led him to creating great dishes.
Chef Saud is definitely a trailblazer and is a source of inspiration for many young and aspiring Emirati cooks to follow their dreams.
Connector set some questions for Chef Saud, to find out a little more on one of the amazing professionals whose skills shine more than their story.
Read more to find out what Chef Saud explains are the best things about working as part of Emirates Flight Catering.
How did you get started in the food industry?
I started my career at Dubai Creek Golf Club as part of their Marketing team, but after showing a keen interest in F&B and voicing my dream of becoming a chef, I was offered a place on their Culinary Training Programme. I joined as a Steward and worked my way up the culinary ranks to Sous Chef. It was a fantastic introduction to the industry and gave me an extensive range of practical experience. I had the opportunity to work across all their outlets, which exposed me to a broad range of cuisines and dining styles.
Following Dubai Creek Golf Club, I gained experience in five-star hotel restaurants and banqueting through to F&B Procurement. This really provided me with a solid understanding of the hospitality industry.
I joined Emirates Flight Catering in 2017, overseeing the Arabic and Emirati Kitchens and new menu development. Since childhood, I have been passionate about food, and I feel very fortunate to be doing what I love every day.
What is your earliest cooking memory?
Growing up, I used to love sitting in the kitchen and watching my father cook. As I got a bit older, I would try to create the same dishes as him, adding my own ingredients and experimenting to see how they would enhance the dish. We also frequently travelled, and I would pick up different ingredients from each country we visited, as I wanted to see how they would go with Arabic cuisine. This is what sparked my passion for fusion dishes, by trialling how different flavours could work together.
What is your favourite dish from your country?
Grilled whole tuna with white rice and Emirati Ghee, it is simple, fresh and tasty! This is my comfort food and reminds me of Fridays when my grandfather would make this for the family to come together and enjoy.
What is the one go-to easy snack you love making for midnight cravings?
I always have Basmati rice, it is a staple in my house and makes a great base for a quick satisfying snack. I love to add whatever leftovers I have in my fridge, it may be chicken, tuna or vegetables. I stir fry everything in Emirati Ghee and add some fragrant spices to turn it into a delicious fusion fried rice dish.
What is the one raw ingredient you cannot cook without from your country?
It has to be Emirati Ghee. To me, this is the DNA of Emirati food and the heart of Emirati dishes, as it gives them a unique identity with the aromatic spices that are blended through it.
What is the best dish you have ever prepared with ingredients sourced from Emirates Flight Catering?
At Emirates Flight Catering, the culinary team is privileged to have access to the highest quality and freshest ingredients from the UAE and around the world. My passion is fusing different flavours and spices and showcasing the best of different regions.
One of the dishes I am most proud of is Lobster with Saffron Sauce and Zereshk rice. I took inspiration from three cuisines when creating this dish. There is a nod to India, as the lobster is marinated in a rich tandoori sauce. This is complemented with a stunning and delicate saffron sauce and is served on Zereshk rice, both influences from Iran. For the rice, I wanted to create a unique flavour, so I cooked it with Emirati Ghee and it is simply delicious. This is served onboard select Emirates flights, in First and Business Class.
Chef Saud Al Matrooshi
Emirates Flight Catering