The Experience by Chef Reif Othman is fast becoming the haute-diner's must-have experience.
A fusion of conceptual cuisine expertly moulded into a symbiosis of flavours and culinary techniques, where a select number of guests sit down for meals prepared by the head chef himself. From his signature brand of caviar (known as sturia) to his multidisciplinary cooking techniques, MOJEHMEN.com chats to this sought-after entrepreneur about what truly makes the man behind the experience.
Tell us a little bit about yourself.
I moved to Dubai nine years ago and worked for Zuma, but I was born and raised in Singapore, happily married with two wonderful kids and a love of spicy food; the spicier the better. I love to travel and explore new food and cuisine. I guess my love for food and cooking came about when I started helping my mum at her food stall. My hobbies involve collecting watches and doing motor-cross in the desert on weekends.
How would you describe your food philosophy?
I love working with fresh and good quality ingredients. I believe in the importance of working directly with my farmers so that I am aware of how my ingredients are grown, particularly the environment and conditions.
What is your favourite thing about Arabic cuisine?
Arabic cuisine is clean with no fuss. Plenty of slow cooked and braised meals, which really gives a full flavour. The food also incorporates a lot of raw ingredients, which do not require complicated cooking methods. Apart from spices that they use, it is a simple and straightforward approach to cooking.
Explain the art of multidisciplinary cooking techniques to us.
My cooking techniques are: Italian; French; American; Asian: and Japanese. I have worked with a lot of chefs and they all have very different ways of cooking a dish. For example: chicken stock. I have seen numerous chefs prepare it in different ways. It all boils down to the chef and how he wants things done. As for me, I look at the end result. That will determine how a dish is best prepared.
How does your custom-made caviar differ from regular caviar?
My caviar is made based on strict specifications. I communicate with my supplier so that I have control over the size of the eggs, ratio of salt to the eggs, and the specific time frame for maturity. On top of that, I require that there be less handling of the caviar, as well.
What do you consider the biggest achievement of your career so far?
My biggest achievement by far is the opening of The Experience by Reif Othman. The Experience is the epitome of all my cooking expertise. It was my brainchild ever since I started working in Dubai, to fill the void between exceptional food and the chef’s interaction with guests. It is the ultimate chef’s table experience and to see it come to life is the best thing for me. My guests come in not knowing what to expect and often leave the room in awe.