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

Caterer Middle East - - Contents -

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?

Rainer Becker

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