By Saurabh Syal
Muslims observe Ramadan, as a period of reflection, prayer, community, and fasting, during which they refrain from eating and drinking from sunrise to sundown. However, chefs are constantly exposed to food, tasting, and quality checks, all of which are part of their profession. Have you ever wondered how chefs manage during Ramadan when they are to refrain from eating and drinking?
In this blog, let’s take a closer look at our pastry chef, Heirida, where she describes a day in her life during Ramadan and answers all of our questions.
Q) Can you tell us a little bit about yourself?
Chef- I’m originally from Jakarta, Indonesia, where I started my career as a pastry chef in a 4-star hotel. However, I felt the need to explore more opportunities and that’s when I made my way to Dubai. I vividly remember starting off as an intern here many years ago, but with hard work and dedication, I was able to sharpen my skills and climb the ladder to an executive-level position.
Throughout my journey, I’ve had the privilege of working with several luxurious 5-star properties such as Marriott, The Atlantis, and now with The H Dubai. It’s been 6 years now with The H Dubai and I can honestly say that I’ve never encountered such a diverse group of people. The work culture here and throughout Dubai as a whole is one that I find myself in perfect harmony with.
Q) How does the experience of cooking during Ramadan differ from other times of the year?
Chef- As a chef myself, I can tell you that Ramadan is much more challenging for food and beverage staff than people might think. Surrounded by mouth-watering delicacies that we prepare daily, it takes a lot of self-control to resist temptation. However, we are motivated by the basic principle of Ramadan and its emphasis on self-discipline.
We also make a routine of finishing our daily pre-preparations a day in advance so we can taste them in the evenings and ensure that the creations are perfect.
Q) How do you stay creative and innovative with your Iftar menu during Ramadan?
Chef- Here at The H Dubai, we take great pride in creating menus that cater to each and every guest’s preferences. We do understand the importance of offering a diverse range of dishes that cater to both fasting Muslims and those who aren’t. As a team, we put in a lot of effort and dedication to come up with new and exciting menu options by conducting thorough research and drawing inspiration from our previous successful menus. Personally, I am thrilled to share that I have created a new pastry recipe this year that has been receiving fantastic feedback from our guests.
It’s a delicious pastry called Dates Klappertaart which I crafted with an authentic Indonesian taste as the base, and topped with dates to honor Arabic culture during this holy month. As always, we never forget to listen closely to our customer’s feedback, and we strive to feature their favorite dishes from previous menus.
Q) What are some of your favorite memories as a chef during Ramadan?
Chef- Ramadan is one of my favorite times of the year. Being a Muslim, I eagerly anticipate this special month every year. I have fond memories of when I used to work with a well-renowned brand in Dubai and couldn’t wait for the Iftar. It was held outside on the beach, with a stunning sunset as the backdrop. Watching the sun dip into the water and paint the sky with its breathtaking colors made me forget all about the exhaustion of the day.
Now as a Chef In The H Dubai, I take great pride in seeing the happy faces of our guests. Families come to our restaurant to break their fast and indulge in their favorite dishes, and being able to satisfy their cravings to the fullest is an accomplishment that fills me with joy.
Q) Do you want to provide a message for other chefs who are also fasting like you?
Chef- As a chef fasting during Ramadan, I want to send my heartfelt wishes to all fellow chefs also observing the holy month. Let’s use this time to connect with Allah, and cultivate patience, and discipline. Stay hydrated and nourished during iftar and suhoor. May Allah accept our fasts and grant us the strength to perform our duties with excellence.