Being a Chef is not that easy, it involves a lot of thinking and preparation. The final cooking and plating is just the last 20% of the overall food preparation journey.
Thierry Gallas, is the Kitchen Lead aka. Exclusive Chef at Radisson RED Dubai Silicon Oasis. Sadly, he didn’t start his career by throwing this and that in a pan on a prime-time cooking show. Rather, he started his cooking career in a hotel in France as a Demi Chef de Partie after having graduated from Ecole hôteliere d'Avignon.
What Misconceptions are there out there about 'Being a Chef'?
People will say that it’s not difficult to become a Chef. I think that that misconception comes from TV cooking shows, which tend to be more entertainment than actual, serious cooking.
You see in these shows, everyone is just throwing this and that together, and tossing stuff up and down in the pan. Being a Chef is not that easy. It involves a lot of thinking and preparation in advance. The final cooking and plating part is just the last 20% of the overall food preparation journey.
What makes your food different from others? What makes people come to Radisson RED for food?
My food is very simple, based on the taste of the products without mixing too many flavours together. That means that it doesn’t lose the real taste of the aliments. I think guests come to RED because of our food quality and menu selection, as we have tried to be as cosmopolitan as possible to make sure that everyone who dines at RED finds something to his or her taste on the menu.
What's the most challenging food related problem in the Middle East and how do you approach a solution?
In the Middle East the most challenging problem from my side is the taste of the fruits and vegetables. It’s very difficult to find them perfectly ripe as most of the time, they are harvested on the other side of the world. Being the grandson of a farmer in the South of France that’s the first thing that shocked me when I arrived in the Middle East 11 years back.
I would like to find more locally sourced options to make sure that the quality of the products we are using is perfect.
What F&B trends do you see happening in 2021?
I think that the F&B trends for 2021 will be to go back to 'F&B Basics'. That means simple and tasty food, done with locally sourced items, within a proper price range as most people are looking for quality price options compared to a few years back when customers weren't looking at the prices while going out for dinner.
What's your advice for those who want to become a chef? What skill-set is needed today that perhaps wasn't needed 5 years ago?
My advice for anyone who wants to become a Chef is first, WORK HARD. Don’t look at the hours. Remember that you will be working while others are partying.
Secondly, always write down the recipes that you’re learning. I probably have more than 10 books of handwritten recipes at home, and every time that I need new inspiration, I go back to them.
Thirdly, be curious and try new things. Don't be scared to fail.
As far as the skill-set that's needed that perhaps wasn't needed five year’s back:
Finance skills - With the current situation, we need to be very careful with our prices and sources of our ingredients. We need to make sure that we stay in an affordable price range for our customers.
Human factors have also changed a lot over the last five years. Many restaurant are opening and it has become more difficult to keep the line staff in the property as they tend to look for new opportunities more often, thinking that they are already qualified for the next role.
Visit Thierry Gallas at Radisson RED