They call him the Gypsy Chef, with his ever-expanding culinary empire transporting David Myers from Los Angeles to Tokyo during the day, while evenings place him in Dubai where he shuttles between his three restaurant brands.
The Michelin-starred chef has returned to these shores for the Taste of Dubai weekend, where he will be busy demonstrating his gastronomic artistry, which is often limited to his restaurant kitchens and his television appearances.
Having gained popularity over the years with appearances on shows such as Iron Chef America, Top Chef, Master Chef US and Hell’s Kitchen, Gulf News tabloid! managed to peg down Myers to talk about his appearance at ToD, his plans to expand on his restaurant empire after bring Bleu Blanc, Basta! And Poppy to Dubai, along with his idea of a perfect meal.
Tell us about this year’s Taste of Dubai and what are you going to be doing at the event?
We will be focusing on highlighting dishes and the styles of food we serve at our from our restaurants, Bleu Blanc and Basta! at Taste of Dubai this year. From the Bleu Blanc menu I will be showcasing the celery root salad and from the Basta! menu, the chopped salad and spaghetti carbonara.
From all the celebrity chefs attending, who are you most excited to meet?
To be honest, all of them, I am always happy to be around inspiring chefs, especially those that have restaurants globally.
How would you describe the UAE food scene?
The UAE food scene is incredibly cosmopolitan and vibrant. It is world class on every level and this is what I love about it.
Which is your favourite UAE restaurant?
Well, I have many favourites here but I would have to say the local Arabic cuisine is my go to in the UAE.
If there’s a dish that imbibes the UAE food scene, which would you pick and why?
My friends always take me out for shawarma, which I am now incredibly fond of.
What are you most passionate about cooking?
I love the feeling it gives of taking ingredients given to us from our earth’s bounties and doing the least amount to them to just let them shine naturally.
Why do you call yourself the ‘Gypsy Chef’?
Actually this was an idea for a TV show we were working on and it just stuck.
What is the biggest mistake you have made as a chef?
A. I have made plenty, that’s for sure but what is important is some of our greatest dishes are ones that are born out of failure.
Which chef do you look up to professionally and why?
I have always looked up to and admired my very first chef, Charlie Trotter. He embodied what an incredible leader was and I learnt a lot. All of my chefs have had a major influence in my life.
What’s a food trend that you simply cannot get your head around?
To me it would be just unhealthy food, and highly processed food that concerns me. Life is short and we need to fuel our bodies with what is best for our health.
What does the Michelin star mean for you?
It was an incredible honour to have achieved something that we had always looked up to. It is a highly recognised award that makes you realise you need to work harder than ever and keep pushing to raise your game.
There has been talk of late that the UAE is prime for a Michelin guide. Your thoughts?
I think that would be a wise decision. There are too many great restaurants here to ignore and I think it fits the Michelin model.
Do you like browsing through books written by other celebrity chefs?
I always love to read and there are so many great books out there to choose from. I buy them all.
How does a chef like you stay in shape when surrounded by such amazing food?
It became a very important part of my life to stay healthy so I hired a trainer and have been focused on eating healthy 90 per cent of the time and exercising 5-6 days a week. No excuses.
After Bleu Blanc, Basta! and now the Middle Eastern concept, Poppy, are you looking to expand your brand in the UAE or the Middle East?
Yes, that is the goal. To be in the UAE right now just makes sense, I love the region and how it is continually growing.
If you were hosting last supper, who are the three individuals you’d like to invite and what would be on the menu?
I would invite those closest to me and would have to make it more than three. It would start with sushi from Shin in Tokyo, and finish with me simply grilling some steaks like we do at Bleu Blanc. I love this type of cooking so much.
Don’t miss it!
Taste of Dubai runs from March 7 to 9. Tickets, start from Dh95. VIP tickets begin at Dh285. Children under 12 enter free. Taste of Dubai takes place from 4pm to 12am on March 7, 12pm-12am on March 8, and 12pm-11m on March 9. Chef David Myers will be at ToD on all three days.