HAUTE DUBAI Magazine / Dining /
Interview with The Farm's
Chef Yves de Lafontaine
How long have you been in Dubai?
I’ve been in Dubai for 5 years now fortunately to be part of the opening and the creation of The Farm Restaurant earlier this year.
Where did you learn your craft and what was that experience like?
I grew up in Australia working for small restaurants and catering private events until I was noticed by some head chefs of the restaurants I was working for doing basic kitchen tasks, they saw my passion for cooking so they took me under their wing and taught me this and that. A couple of years later I joined hospitality school to enhance that foundation and when I was done I moved back home to the Seychelles where I helped creating Menus for a few Restaurants and when I had all that experience, I put it together and moved to Dubai.
What or who inspires your signature dishes?
It’s a moment thing, It depends on what you are doing, what’s there at the time, what you’re trying to create whether it’s a salad, a desert, a main course or a full menu. I get the inspiration from what’s in season. It starts from there and then you build on it.
Briefly, what is a typical day like for you when you are at the restaurant?
It always starts quite early in the morning. With the restaurant manager we look at what we have scheduled for the day whether it’s a routine day or a special event, we take a walk through the restaurant. Then we move to the kitchen to discuss the theme and do the brief then we take it from there. We start running the operation. I always like to be in the kitchen to make sure everything is smooth and run the show.
Tell us about your Menu at the Farm. Do you have a favorite dish or recipe?
The menu is inspired by a couple of things. It’s based on changing local grown ingredients. Everything is cooked on order to the guests needs. It’s very difficult to have a favorite dish when most of the dishes have been created here by us. They all have an equal amount of value to us but for myself to say, a dish I would order every time from them menu will have to be the chicken. The simplicity of it, the flavors and marination makes it just beautiful.
What is your favorite style of cooking, and why does it appeal to you?
Not over cooking the product or masking it with too much sauce or spices. Basically, the freshest product is the star for me. I like to think of people with special dietary needs and adjust the cooking style to meet their requirements saving that delightful taste of the fresh product.
What are the most important elements when creating a recipe from scratch?
Again, the product is the super star for me, cooking it properly follows next. But the most important element in my opinion is finding the perfect product and then highlighting its flavor with a contrast of herbs to make it stand out.
What are your favorite ingredients to cook with, why and can you give us an example of how you cook with them?
The freshest available. I try to move away from one main ingredient and repetition and just go with the season, or the best season for a certain ingredient or herb and what is available now, purely seasonal. With home grown you can’t go wrong.
Organic cooking must have some limitations, how do you deal with them?
Finding locally grown ingredients around the clock can be a challenge, especially here in Dubai. We try to use organic as much as possible wherever possible.
Do you have any kitchen secrets that you would like to share with us?
Well if a share them, they wont secrets anymore. [Laughter]. No secrets really but my tips for someone trying to make good food whether professional or a home cooking, would be; keep your cool, organization and more than anything else; be part of the team, get your juniors involved in the work and the creation of the menu. Plant the idea and nurture it with them. The biggest secret to run a successful kitchen is team work.