marta yanci

How does a self-taught chef end up at the Helm of an award-win­ning ca­ter­ing com­pany? we chat to marta’s kitchen founder marta yanci ahead of the open­ing of Her brand new res­tau­rant and or­ganic gar­den in Jlt


Tell us about your new res­tau­rant

it’s re­ally more of a work­shop than a res­tau­rant, be­cause it’s only open dur­ing the day, for lunch, and in the evening we rent out the space for events. Through my ca­ter­ing busi­ness, i re­alised that a lot of peo­ple in dubai find it hard to find the right venue, so that’s some­thing we now pro­vide.

How did you get started in the ca­ter­ing world?

When i moved to dubai in 2005, i was a lawyer spe­cial­is­ing in euro­pean Union law, and i found it im­pos­si­ble to find work here. But i’ve al­ways been pas­sion­ate about cook­ing, so i started as a pri­vate chef and word of mouth spread, help­ing the ca­ter­ing busi­ness to grow. To­day, i have nine chefs work­ing with me and we can cater for up to 500 peo­ple. Some of our big­gest events have in­cluded the open­ing of dubai Mir­a­cle gar­dens, and we’ve even cooked for a num­ber of emi­rates air­line ViP areas.

What can we ex­pect from the food at Marta’s Work­shop?

i wanted to keep it very fresh, very Mediter­ranean (i’m from San Se­bas­tian in Spain). We have an or­ganic gar­den where we grow a lot of our herbs and pro­duce, as well as a lemon tree and an olive tree. The menu at Marta’s Work­shop will change reg­u­larly, de­pend­ing on the sea­son, the events we’ve been ca­ter­ing and what we feel like cook­ing.

Where do you get your in­spi­ra­tion?

Be­cause i’m not a trained chef, i find in­spi­ra­tion every­where – the books i read, the places i travel. My favourite thing is to visit a new city and find a chef who will take me to a lo­cal mar­ket and show me how they cook. When you go to a mar­ket, you re­ally un­der­stand the spirit of a place.

Where do you shop in Dubai?

for or­ganic pro­duce, i go to the green­heart or­ganic farmer’s mar­ket in Busi­ness Bay. for reg­u­lar, ev­ery­day gro­ceries, i think Car­refour does great meat and fish.

How do you en­cour­age your kids to eat healthily?

i never force them to eat any­thing they don’t like, but i al­ways en­cour­age them to try new things at least once. Chil­dren need to be ex­posed to a va­ri­ety of cuisines, and to cook­ing it­self. They need to be able to touch the in­gre­di­ents, to taste them, to smell them, to stick their fin­ger in the dough or taste a veg­gie that you’re peel­ing. That’s what will get them in­ter­ested. My son helps me chop car­rots in the kitchen. Marta’s Work­shop is set to open in Swiss Tower in JLT Clus­ter Y later this year. For more in­for­ma­tion, visit face­ mar­task­itchen­dubai

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