1) Congratulations on the huge success of table 9, you have had quite a year! What were your highlights of 2012?
It’s been a fantastic year we’ve built up some great relationships in the last 12 months. Having guests coming back time and time again for what you do is a great feeling. If we had to specify one defining moment, that would have to be when we scooped two awards in one night at the What’s On Awards– which were Restaurant of the Year as well as Best Modern European Restaurant.
2) Your menu is very diverse and definitely unique, where do you get your inspiration to create such unusual taste combinations?
We have a strong desire to be different and to make sure that guests don’t come in and have a normal everyday dining experience. We put in a great deal of thought with each of our creations so as to keep it interesting for the guests as well as the team, so each day continues to be a learning experience.
3) How would you describe the table 9 experience in your own words?
table 9 is a concept that is unique to Dubai. Our intention is to be an informal relaxed environment with a high standard of food and service.
4) In your option, what are the 5 most essential ingredients that everyone should have in their kitchen?
Salt, pomace olive oil, vinegar, garlic and shallots.
5) You both worked for Gordon Ramsay before deciding to set up your own homegrown concept here in Dubai, what are the advantages and disadvantages of being an independent restaurant as opposed to a franchise?
As for advantages; we get to call the shots and make our own decisions and don’t feel obliged to do things the way someone else has prescribed. Having our name on the door means we are free to have our personality come through 100% in our menu creations.
As for a disadvantage; the disassociation with Gordon’s global brand & his very recognizable name has been an adjustment but we have actually been very lucky to keep ourselves in the limelight even without that draw.
6) What are your thoughts on the dining scene in Dubai, what makes table 9 stand out from the pack?
There are too many restaurants to choose from in Dubai, which is one of the main reasons why so many of them are not full all week through. table 9 has something that you don’t see often enough in Dubai, which is a team that really cares about what they do and make it a priority that each guest leaves happy, every day.
7) Last year you launched cooking classes at table 9, what can students expect from attending one of these classes? How does it differ from other offerings in the city?
You can expect each course to be very personal as we have a limit of 6 students per class. It means that each student leaves with true knowledge of how to do each course as opposed to being demonstrative. This itself is different as our research tells us that most of the cookery classes are more concentrated on being demonstrative rather than getting your hands dirty.
8) What is your signature dish, and what is it about this dish that makes it worthy of the name?
The Crispy Hen’s Egg. It always surprises our guests that something so simple tastes so good. It has been on the menu since we opened and it will always continue to be on the menu in some form or another.
9) Many of our Cooking with a Manicure foodie followers are enthusiast cooks but have little time to spend in the kitchen, what tips and advice would you give to them to make a simple dish have that pièce de résistance?
Do not over complicate. Always season and always taste.
10) What are your plans for the next few years ahead, are you thinking of expanding table 9 across the UAE or perhaps further afield?
It would be to continue developing and maintaining table 9 as one of the best restaurants in the city. In terms of expanding we don’t have any firm plans as yet but are definitely keeping our eyes on the horizon.
For the latest foodie news, chef interviews and delicious recipes head to www.cookingwithamanicure.com