Connector May 2023

CONNECTOR.AE 26 CONNECTOR.AE 27 Dining Around Dining Around between the land, the product, and the cuisine intrigued me from the first moment. Later, I started helping my mother in the kitchen while she would prepare lunch, and I must admit that at thebeginning, I was terrible. We could say that I was a better eater than I was a cook. However, everything changed after we visited a well-known gastronomic restaurant in my region to celebrate a special occasion. That day I realised something that would change it all, great food brings people together and makes them happy. So, at the age of fourteen, I decided to become a chef, and the rest is history. What is your earliest cooking memory? When I was a child, my absolute favourite dish was ‘Bouchée à la Reine’, a traditional French speciality. Every time my grandmother was preparing it, I would be next to her to try and steal as many meatballs as I could before she noticed. Later, when I took my first steps into the culinary world and my skills improved, I asked her to teach me her recipe and it has become a tradition to prepare it together for the rest of the family. What is your favourite dish fromyour country? I am a big foodie and it is very complicated for me to choose between so many delicious dishes, but if I really have to pick something, that would be the Foie Gras. When I see a Foie Gras dish on a restaurant menu, I can not help but order it. I love it as a consumer and as a chef because it is a very versatile product, that can enhance the flavour of any dish you choose to complement. What is the one go-to and easy snack you love making for midnight cravings? When I have midnight cravings, I try to keep it light but delicious, a toast of wholemeal bread, avocado guacamole, a runny poached egg and optionally some raspberries on top. Added to that is a drizzle of olive oil, a pinch of fleur de sel and some crushed nuts. What is the one raw ingredient you cannot cook without from your country? The product I cannot cook without is not necessarily a product that comes from my country, but it is one of the simplest and at the same time, vital elements in my cuisine, lemon. I truly think that with the right amount of acidity, you can balance any dish, while, at the same time, bringing freshness to it. If you have never tried it, add a few drops of lemon juice and grated zest to your preparations and believe me, you will see the difference. What is the best dish to try at your restaurant? I am proud to say that we have developed a menu in order to match all tastes and expectations so I believe that every guest will have a different opinion. However, if I have to highlight one of my personal favourites, that would be the green risotto with asparagus, lemon, spinach coulis and fontina foam. The combination of flavours and the balance of the elements makes it special and absolutely delicious. Chef ’s Corner: Celia Stoecklin Food has the ability to bring people together, be it over lunchwith family or dinner while catching upwith friends. All credit for the cooking goes to the chef, the secret weapon to any successful restaurant. Chef Celia Stoecklin is the Executive Chef at the all-female staffed restaurant Fi’lia Dubai, located at SLS Dubai Hotel and Residences, Business Bay, and is a great example of turning her passion for cooking into her profession, serving exquisite food at the restaurant that received a Bib Gourmand, as part of the Michelin 2022 Guide. From the age of 14, Chef Celia dedicated her life to honing her skills and abilities in the kitchen and got her humble start with a twoyear apprenticeship at Le 7eme Continent, a Michelin-starred French restaurant in Rixheim, France. From there, she went on to work for several years at the two-starred Italian restaurant, ‘Il Cortile’ in New York, USA, before making her way to Dubai and working at Fi’lia Dubai. All her hard work has paid off, as Chef Celia is currently working her dream job and shares with Connector how she began her journey in the culinary industry to her favourite thing to eat at Fi’lia. How did you get started in the food industry? My love for the noble art of cooking started when I was very young. I grew up in my grandparents house with my sisters and my mom, and I remember helping my grandfather take care of his big garden. He was cultivating carrots, lettuce, tomatoes, green beans, and many other vegetables that my grandmother would use to prepare delicious dishes. That simple and honest relation