Saeed Saeed | February 6, 2014
Monte-Carlo Beach Club Executive Chef Gavin Gleeson says it’s his responsibility to produce high quality dishes.
My first memories in the kitchen are of starting as an apprentice at Dromaland Castle, in Country Clare Ireland. I was 15-years-old and upon arriving in the old castle’s kitchen I was instantly mesmerized by the array of produce on offer, from herbs I’d never heard of, to plucking pheasants, it was an entirely new world to me. It was my first experience of working in a kitchen and the head chef was notorious for his short temper and tendency to scream during service. if it wasn’t for me being so scared of him, I think I would have left there and then.
The first dish I remember making as an aspiring chef was Foie Gras terrine. I had been in the kitchen for three years at that stage and had only ever been responsible for sandwiches, breakfast and vegetables, which never really felt like cooking to me. I was so proud after making my first terrine, it’ll be a memory that will always stick with me and a dish I’m still very fond of today.
I was once told: ‘When you are right, you are right and no one can ever tell you wrong.’ What this means is that as a chef is you should never send a dish you are not willing to lay your name to. It’s my responsibility to produce dishes that are up to the appropriate standard for where I am cooking. If I haven’t done that then I’ve only got myself to blame.
If I could choose one dish for my last meal it would be smoked salmon, Irish brown bread, Kerry gold butter (very important), loads of capers and onions
What makes me happiest is when I’m developing a new menu and my staff are excited about learning it. Exactly what I’ve been doing recently at Monte-Carlo Beach Club, Saadiyat.
For me, the culinary scene in the UAE is a lot of trial and error to find the good places but so worth it when you do.
Monte-Carlo Beach Club is on Saadiyat Island. For details go to www.montecarlobeachclub.ae