Connector March 2024

CONNECTOR.AE 42 CONNECTOR.AE 43 Dining Around Dining Around Chef ’s Corner: Akmal Anuar A chef is a key reason behind the success of a restaurant and established Dubai-based Chef Akmal Anuar is a great example. Currently, the Chef and Co-owner of Goldfish Sushi and Yakitori, Chef Akmal is proof of how hard work and dedication can be extremely rewarding. Starting his culinary journey in Singapore, he worked as the Head Chef for Iggy’s Restaurant, which was recognised as one of the World’s 50 best restaurants. In 2014, Chef Akmal moved to Dubai and joined Zengo at Le Royal Meridien Beach Resort and Spa. 3Fils at Jumeirah Fishing Harbour was born in 2016 and was a homegrown concept that was listed in Forbes magazine in the ten coolest places to eat and was also on the World’s best discovery list. The laurels from Chef Akmal’s career do not end here, as in 2021 he established Goldfish Sushi and Yakitori, which was awarded a Bib Gourmand at the 2022 Michelin Guide for Dubai as well as saw Chef Akmal earn a Michelin star for the Dubai restaurant, 11 Woodfire. Having created a legacy in his 20 years in the culinary industry, Chef Akmal shares his thoughts on his journey. How did you get started in the food industry? My parents are hawkers and at an early age, I helped out a lot at the shop. I only started cooking professionally back in the year 2000 and I have never looked back. What is your earliest cooking memory? Before the internet era, everything was new and exciting. Anything that came from overseas looked out of this world. I remember fondly my first ever experience touching truffles. I was taught to make an appetiser with scrambled eggs and foie gras and finished off with a reduction of poultry jus made from pigeon bones and chicken and shavings of Perigord black truffle. That was mind-blowing. What is your favourite dish from your country? Rendang is definitely on top of the list. That particular one goes a long way to my original roots. Poor man’s food but rich in flavour and story. A dish to be shared and fulfilling. What is the one go-to and easy snack you love making for midnight cravings? Peanut butter with Kraft cheese sandwich. What is the one raw ingredient you cannot cook without from your country? Coconut, as it is amongst the few species of vegetation which comes from Asia or Nusantara region where I come from. They often occur near the coastal areas where the seeds are carried by the sea and deposited on the shores. The rich history of the Malays, live typically with coconut palms in their yard and one very recognisable dish or meal would be Rendang, made from buffalo or cattle meat cook slowly in thick white milk from freshly grated mature coconut pulp and cooked really slowly over the fire. The stages of coconut change the colour and splits the oil giving the rich buttery texture. What is the best dish to try at your restaurant? Goldfish offers top-notch dishes. Our seafood comes direct from our source in Japan. One dish to have is our tuna rice bowl top with oscietra caviar!