In the Kitchen with Private Chef Henry

This week we’re meeting with private Chef Henry, one of our British Chefs in Dubai and we’re quite excited to learn more about his cooking style and experience!

What’s in your fridge right now?

Half an onion… I need to shop! To limit wastage, I try and keep a lean fridge unless I am cooking something special in the next day or so. Currently we have left over Chicken Katsu Curry from last night, Salsa Verde from a delightful lamb dish and a tomato and pomegranate salad. Fridge staples are homemade vinaigrette, balsamic reduction and Heinz Salad Cream!

Who cooks at home?

I do 95%. My wife loves my cooking and has now started to take on a little of her own favourite recipes. When family comes both Mums rule the roost!

Favorite place to eat /restaurant in your current city?

Cle – Dubai or Hakkasan – Emirates Palace. The food, atmosphere and service are unbeatable in the UAE.

Tell us more about one of your menu’s available on ChefXchange?

Seafood Feast is a seasonal celebration.

Kicked off with a crab and delicately spiced ginger tart and chili dressing. A lot of people stray away from crab for the more popular prawns, mussels or lobster but having spent summers desperately trying to catch them in Salcombe (Devon, UK) I can not forget the aromas and fiendish delight of tucking into them once Mum had cooked up our day’s trophies!

Sea bass has had its 15 minutes of fame in the last decade and I think it is a wonderful fish, very light and works with so many accompaniments. For the main course I have delicately prepared some globe artichokes, par-boiling and then frying them in a little vinegar, served with basil new potatoes and a chive crème fraîche. A lighter than normal main.

Keeping things simple for dessert, I opted for the traditional crème brûlée, I myself have a penchant for everything ‘vanilla’ so generally stay true to the original recipe, a wobbly yet velvety custard with a tough caramel roof? Beautiful all year round.

Who taught you how to cook?

My Mum, she’s a demon in the kitchen and was always trying new styles and cuisines whilst we were growing up. I challenge you to find a better roast potato anywhere in the world than on our dining table every Christmas day (or any other Sunday permitting!)

My first Head Chef was English/Chinese and he showed me not only the basics, but actually influencing traditional European recipes with accents of Asia.

I have worked with many stoic purists who have taught me in the ways of classic cuisine, and also many ‘rock stars’ straight out of this 3 rosette or starred restaurant in search of their new challenge who bring with them an abundance of (sometimes unwanted) creative flair!

Sum up your cooking style in three words.

Traditional, luscious & relaxed

Whatever the event, my objective is the same: to provide a hassle-free evening for the host and guests centered around exceptional food.

Savoury or Sweet?

Personally, savoury all the way but I appear to have picked up a knack for pastry and sweets over the years and always leave my dinners raving about the puds.

Which Chef would you love to meet?

There’s so many icons, Ramsay was my first kitchen crush but have steadily grown out of that one! I think if there’s one chef who has astounded me from the word ‘go’ it has to be Michael Caines. He is the definition of dedication. To work with him would be something special.

Favorite kitchen gadget?

A good set of knives. I have had mine since I set out (15 years now) and they have never let me down, They’re Wusthof Classics, beautiful to look at and expertly weighted, they continue to amaze me at their robust resilience. I am a firm believer that with a good set of knives and some heavy bottomed pans you are on your way to a good culinary adventure.

Best advice you’ve received in your career?

You can always add more but you can never take away” mentioned many times to me as a kitchen porter or trainee commis when left in charge of seasoning the mash potato! I believe the difference in a good meal and a great one can be down to one turn of the grinder…