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Back to basics

We catch up with director of culinary, Daniel Nuss, to find out more about what W Dubai – The Palm, one of Dubai’s hottest new properties, is serving up 

Tell us more about your beginnings and background in the culinary world. How did it all start?

“I always wanted to be a chef, right from a young age. Helping my grandmother in the kitchen, I found a passion for the culinary arts. My career started in the Alsace region of France in a Michelin-starred restaurant, where I had the opportunity to work my way to the top, familiarising myself with the many different aspects of running a kitchen. The restaurant was well known so we had quite a lot of expert chef trainers coming through and each of them helped me develop my skills.”

Daniel Nuss, director of culinary W Dubai – The Palm

Who has been your biggest influence thus far?

“I learned from everyone around me, but I gained the most from my travels. I’ve always been passionate about discovering hidden places across the globe, where only locals eat. I often find that I am one of the only foreigners eating at these venues. Experiences such as these have proved to be a real eye-opener. The products, the freshness and the varieties I’ve found are what influenced my cooking.”

Tell us more about what it is like working in the kitchens at W Dubai – The Palm?

“It is just fantastic! Look around you, who would not enjoy being part of such a vibrant destination. We have some very exciting venues including Massimo Bottura’s first restaurant outside Italy – Torno Subito – and Akira Back’s first restaurant in the Middle East, which celebrates Japanese cuisine with a dash of Korean essence. SoBe brings the Latino flavours of Miami to the emirate while our casual eateries Wet Deck and Liv highlight the brand’s passion for lighter, fresher offerings.” 

What is the primary culinary philosophy followed at W Dubai – The Palm’s restaurants?

“To look after our products, keep it simple, cook with passion and be mindful of our environmental impact.”

What’s the formula to the perfect dish?

“A great dish has to be simple, perfectly cooked, seasoned properly and visually appealing.”

Taste or presentation, what is more important? And how is the perfect balance achieved?

“Taste always comes first! You have to understand what gastronomy is, learn how to balance a dish with its flavours and textures. You need to get the basics right, know your classics and perfect them. After that, the world is yours.”

What is the best part about being a chef?

“To work with great farmers, food producers and people who have the vision and understanding of true quality. Also, as a chef, you never go home hungry!”

If there’s one person you’d like to cook a meal for, who would that be and why? What would you cook?

“It would be the world-renowned French chef Alain Ducasse. He has a great palate, is straightforward in his approach and honest in his feedback. I would make him a classic French dish, as not many young chefs know how to cook from scratch anymore. You need to get the base right before you start working on your own style.”

Describe one of the best meals you’ve ever had?

“It was in Japan in a Michelin-starred restaurant. A hidden gem in Tokyo, which seats only 14 people at the bar counter, it’s out of this world. The techniques, the temperature of the oil, the texture of the batter, the complexity of the flavours, every single detail is taken into account and the result is perfection.”

Any tips for up and coming chefs?

“Work with the best chefs you know. You need to work hard, learn, taste, ask a lot of questions and develop your own style.”

Describe your culinary style in three words.

“Clean, fresh and flavourful.”

When you’re not behind the scenes in the kitchen, do you enjoy cooking at home?

“I do! I love cooking anything my son requests; he is my number one critic and has a very good palate.”

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