Last Bite: Rainer Becker
Celebrating ten years at the top of the UAE food chain, Zuma founder Rainer Becker spoke with Caterer Middle East about its continued success
The Zuma founder stopped to chat as his restaurant celebrates 10 years in Dubai.
What is your earliest food memory?
For as long as I can remember my earliest memory was of my mother cooking in our family kitchen — I vividly remember the sounds and the smells. They take me back to my childhood.
What inspired you to become a chef?
It was the time I spent with my mother in the kitchen initially. I loved cooking and when I told my father I wanted to become a chef he sent me to a friend’s restaurant in the school holidays to experience a professional kitchen; I was hooked immediately and never looked back.
How would you describe your culinary style?
Authentic but not traditional. I very much respect and draw upon traditional Japanese cooking techniques, ingredients, and their food culture, however, I have always amplified the flavour profiles to be more in line with the Western palate.
What has been your proudest moment as a chef?
I have had many proud moments but if I had to pick one it would probably be the day we opened the doors to my first restaurant Zuma London back in 2002.
Zuma Dubai is 10 years old, what has been the highlight of that time?
I am not sure there has been one specific moment, more the highlight is the success of the restaurant, how it has developed over the last 10 years, the team we have built, and that it has stood the test of time. I am very proud of that.
What has been the biggest challenge with Zuma in Dubai?
Dubai is a very different place compared to when we opened 10 years ago. So many restaurants, good restaurants, have opened in recent years; it has become a lot more competitive.
How often do you get to Dubai and what do you enjoy the most about it?
I am generally in Dubai two to three times a year I would say. I love the desert and motorsports so I try to combine the two when I have some spare time on my work trips. I haven’t really thought about it too much, but probably a racing driver as I love cars.
What does the future hold for you?
Hopefully much more of the same. Working, travelling, and spending time with my family.
Zuma DubaiIf you weren’t a chef then what would you be?