Lloyd Carter is an executive chef at Noodle House where he oversees 80 chefs working across six restaurant franchises in Dubai. After starting as an apprentice in France in 1995, he travelled the world and landed in Dubai four years ago. Here, Mr Carter talks about a day in his life tasting, developing and cooking up dishes at the restaurant.
I wake up, have breakfast and coffee in front of the television or occasionally read newspapers.
I reach the office at the Global Village on Emirates Road, or depending on the day, I meet with suppliers for ingredients. Sometimes I am at the restaurants and with the chefs go through the ingredients or have taste panels. We take a recipe and replicate it according to the local taste and ingredients from the local market. I usually spend time at the Emirates Towers or the DIFC restaurants, our two key restaurants. The local suppliers supply the basic vegetables and ingredients, but for our key flavour ingredients [such as chillies, ginger and Thai basil], we depend upon Malaysia and Hong Kong. For savouries, fish sauce and soy sauce, we depend on Chinese, Japanese and Thai markets.
Between now and noon, we [get] the dishes ready and taste the sauces that our chefs make. Emergencies would include weekly ingredients not turning up due to, say, flight delays. For instance, we get fresh fish from Europe. So when a flight is delayed, we have to get from another supplier. But [these emergencies] are not regular. May be once or twice a week.
As the lunch rush-hour finishes, I have some personal time with [our chefs]. Sometimes I try some of our Ivy or Noodle House dishes, such as dim sum, curry laksa or Singapore noodles.
I usually take care of the kitchen management stuff, including scheduling staff vacations and changes in dishes. The key to developing dishes is to go travelling and eat from the finest restaurants down to the ... street food. If it is memorable and you remember what it looks like and smells like [and tastes like], ... you fine-tune the dish [after coming back home and make it suitable for the local palate].
Head home and sometimes head out to have dinner. If there is an Asian or British restaurant making headlines, I would head straight to that. Occasionally I cook but I definitely enjoy cooking out in the restaurant as they have the best equipment and really motivated guys at the restaurants who give important [input to the] recipes. Sometimes I head off to the golf course or the driving range.
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