Connector October 2022

19 CONNECTOR.AE CONNECTOR.AE 18 Meet Chef Rami Al Maket, the Executive Chef at Next Door Kitchen in Dubai Creek Harbour, who turned his love for cooking into his passion project. Starting his career in 1998, Chef Rami is an expert in cooking delicious food and is well-known around the Middle East, working in Syria, Saudi Arabia and the UAE. With expertise in Arabic cuisine, Chef Rami shares his thoughts on his career as well as his journey as the Executive Chef at Next Door Kitchen. How did you get started in the food industry? I grew up in a family that was heavily interested in the culinary field, and that is what inspired me to become the person I am today. We would always watch cooking shows, buy books with recipes, and try out new dishes daily. Even though my family was all passionate about the food industry, I was the only member in my family to fulfil my dream of studying culinary arts and gained a lot of great experience. I studied in Damascus and strived to achieve the position I am in now, and that is where my journey began. What is your earliest cooking memory? My earliest cooking memory was when I started my first official job in 1998 at a five-star hotel, Le Royal Meridien, in Damascus. I worked in a restaurant specialised in Arabic cuisine as a Demi Chef de Partie, where I cleaned and prepared vegetables and manned the grill daily. The reason I consider it to be my earliest cooking memory is because that is where I learned the foundations of becoming a chef. What is your favourite dish from your country? When it comes to Syrian cuisine, I find it a bit difficult only to pick one dish as everything is delicious. If I had to pick one dish, I would choose the cherry kebab, which is one of the best platters back home. It is made with charcoal-grilled lamb kofta and smokey lamb cooked in a sour cherry sauce. What is the one go-to and easy snack you love making for midnight cravings? I actually love treating myself, and whenever I get a midnight craving, the first thing that comes to my mind is an Arabic-inspired snack. A feta and zaatar dip with olive oil and crispy Arabic bread is the snack that will always win! What is the one raw ingredient you cannot cook without from your country? Back home in Syria, we use a lot of raw ingredients, particularly herbs, which is why I try to include the most delicious herbs in Next Door Kitchen’s dishes. I love using fresh coriander in different dishes as it gives everything a delectable, more appetising, and fresher taste. For spice, I tend to use constantly is dry lime as it is the most flavourful spice to add to any dish. What is the best dish to try at the restaurant? At Next Door Kitchen, we specialise in international cuisine with a modern touch, as we have many unique dishes to serve. One of the best dishes for meat lovers to savour is the juicy Short Ribs which come with carrot, peanut, spring onion, black pepper sauce, and mashed potato. For those who enjoy seafood, the Saffron Seafood Risotto is definitely a must-try! It consists of saffron, squid, shrimp, mussel, garlic, and onions, topped with parmesan. Chef's Corner: Rami Al Maket Dining Around Dining Around Food is the perfect way for chefs to showcase their passion and also helps speak volumes about their dedication.