FACT caught up with four of the city’s top chefs for advice and tips on how to prepare our dining favourites …

Sushi Saviour

Tips & Tricks

Choosing The Right Sushi Ingredients
• A Good sushi needs to be a pick of fresh ingredients that compliments your desired taste. If you’re eating raw, choose and buy sushi-grade fish and seafood to avoid risk from parasite illness or any bacterial contamination.
• Once the rice is cooked add the sushi vinegar right away to absorb the flavour well.
• The best temperature for sushi rice is the same as your body temperature.
• Always keep your hands moist when touching the sushi rice otherwise the rice will stick.
• Moisten your sharp knife when cutting sushi rolls (maki) to prevent from tearing.
• Short grain rice is always the best rice to use for sushi.
• Freshness and connectivity to the seasonality of ingredients should be given priority.

GO: Visit Tori No Su at Jumeirah at Etihad Towers.
Call (0)2 811 5666 for more info.


Tips & Tricks The Perfect Steak

• One of the most important things is your source of heat – the kind of charcoal you use – as it makes a great difference to the taste. I prefer pure natural lump charcoal because it gets scorching hot in around 10 to 15 minutes and your steak will absorb pure wood smoke aromas. Usually the smokiness emanates from one kind of wood only, such as mesquite or oak.

• Another important point is seasoning. I prefer to use sea salt flakes and first I let the meat rest for about 10 to 20 minutes before sprinkling both sides with salt flakes pressing them lightly into the meat, keeping in mind that I will add another pinch right before serving the steak. For me, black pepper has to be freshly grounded once the steak is ready to be served.
• Preheating your grill is essential. Once your lump charcoal is lit, it will take about 30 minutes to make your grill very hot. Make sure you clean your grill with help from a set of long tongs and some paper towel dipped in cooking oil and water, to prevent the paper from sticking to the grill.
• My favorite steak is Wagyu Tomahawk – a rib eye cut with the entire rib bone intact. I prefer a thick steak with a high density of marbling, which adds great flavor to the steak. Usually, for my guests, I recommend Wagyu Tomahawk for sharing due to its 1.2 kg weight, but personally, I don’t like to share mine!

GO: Visit The Forge Steakhouse at The Ritz-Carlton
Abu Dhabi, Grand Canal. Call (0)2 654 3238.

The Ritz-Carlton Abu Dhabi The Forge Steak

Buffet Brilliance

Tips & Tricks A Lavish Buffet

• Ingredients: Understanding what type of food you want to prepare, and acknowledging which ingredients are suitable for a live counter, are the most important factors of a buffet. Another is knowing which dishes can offer interaction
between the chef and the guest – what can you offer the guest as part of the culinary experience? The overall focus will always be on the flavour of the food and to ensure this, you need to work backwards. Choose your four key ingredients…. protein, accompaniment, sauce and garnish which need to work when put together.

• Equipment: For buffet style food it’s extremely important to work with proper equipment. For example a cast iron skillet, which is versatile, easy to cook with and can maintain being cooked on over and over again. At CuiScene we have introduced a Flambé trolley as a new experience. The live entertainment from it, as well as the flexibility it offers the chef, in terms of temperature control, means we can provide the very best dishes that you wouldn’t normally get if it was left out on the buffet station. Another important aspect is how the food is stored on the stations. It’s important that cold foods are cold, and hot foods should be hot – and if you don’t have the right equipment to do this, the whole experience of the food is ruined.
• Technique: Some foods still have to go on the buffet stations, not everything can be on a live station. The technique used here is to make sure there is enough moisture on the dish itself (if it needs it). For example, if you are choosing to put a fish on the buffet choose one with high fat so that it can still be juicy after an hour on the buffet. Black cod or halibut are good examples of this. When it comes to meat – braised meat is better like short ribs or brisket as they stay delicious even after a few hours. Dishes that require slow cooking but can still be eaten, like a goulash or beef stew, are also great to have on a buffet. Remember before putting a dish on the buffet, this dish may need to stay out for over an hour.

GO: Visit CuiScene at Fairmont Bab Al Bahr. Call
(0)2 654 3238.


Dessert King

Tips & Tricks

• Ingredients: Never skimp on quality is the first rule. Understand the functions of each of the ingredients you use to really know how to play with your recipes and to achieve the results you desire. Some of my favourite ingredients include 58% La Perle Noir Chocolate, exclusive to Emirates Palace, and Madagascan vanilla pods
versus vanilla essence.

• Cooking Techniques: The art of creating heavenly desserts requires tons of fun. The chemistry of baking is built on experimentation; so don’t be afraid to put your stamp on a traditional recipe. Once you have mastered the basics, have fun creating your own variations. From baking in a microwave as opposed to a convection oven, to supplementing apple with rhubarb, the possibilities are endless.

• Presentation: Combine various amazing flavours and textures – crunchy, soft and creamy for the perfect medley of sweetness. Let your artistic side shine: with fresh fruit, chocolate pieces and a healthy drizzling of dessert sauce, have fun with creating your masterpiece. Make your dishes runway ready with a sprinkling of 23K gold, swipe the surface of the plate and voila!

GO: Visit Le Café at Emirates Palace. Call (0)2 690 9000 for more info.