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Chef chat: Kjell Kollin

The Traiteur brunch at Brasserie du Park, Park Hyatt Dubai, is back for another winter season with this man at the helm and the menu is as exciting as ever

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Known as one of Dubai’s best brunches, an array of signature meats, fresh seafood and homemade desserts are served at Traiteur. The award-winning brunch takes place every Friday and is proud to have Swedish chef Kollin at the helm. Be sure to dig into the freshly shucked Fine de Claire oysters, caviar, lobster and make sure you save room for the selection of pates, cold cuts and roasted meats.

Where did you grow up?

Umea, North of Sweden.

Did you eat your veggies?

We always ate what was freshly home cooked and dinner was always served at precisely 5.30pm. Vegetables were seasonal and I loved the spring and summer vegetables, as well as the mushroom and berries picked in

the autumn.

When did you know you wanted to be a chef?

Not sure, but I always liked to cook and it started with a schedule where we had to help to cook and prepare the ingredients. Once we did a home-smoked river trout, salmon and pike - all freshly caught – and I was inspired. It was a natural part of growing up for me.

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Do you have a favourite food memory?

I have so many and they are all different, but working in more than 12 countries, with cuisine from different parts of the world has been amazing. Now, all that passion ends up on my plates!

How difficult was your training?

I did my apprenticeship at the Opera House in Stockholm for three years, a kitchen with all the classic stations and classic Swedish food. I don’t remember it being difficult, but it was challenging. I believe there are no short cuts in life and you have to finish what you start.

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What inspires you?

Meeting people with a passion for food, exploring new ingredients, new cooking methods, travel and trying everything. These are the things that truly inspire my cooking.

Favourite kitchen equipment or gadget?

A sharp knife and happy cooks around me!

Best piece of advice you would give a home enthusiast?

That you will never learn if you don’t try. As a professional we fail but we don’t give up.

Best cooking tip for a novice just getting into the business?

Start small and with the basics. Don’t make things too difficult, cooking is not rocket science. Use your senses.

What’s the most popular dish at The Park Hyatt?

I would say the Bouillabaisse (French seafood soup) and Panisse (chickpea frites).

Five ‘must-have’ items in your basket…

Green seasonal vegetables, herbs, extra virgin olive oil, fresh seafood and a good vinegar.

Funniest kitchen incident?

I was flying back to Sweden for a holiday and I stopped in London to have dinner at Restaurant VONG in London by Chef Jean George Vongerichten. Don’t ask how, but I ended up staying and working in the kitchen for a week before finally taking the holiday to Sweden.

Who in the food world do you most admire?

I admire any chef with a passion and mission. The older they get, the more respect and admiration I have. Unfortunately, today many people give up working in the kitchen and move on to other things.

Favourite foods to cook with?

I love to cook anything as long as I get the right products, have the right equipment and of course the time to do it.

What do you like to eat when you’re at home?

I hardly eat at home, but if I do, I love to cook seafood in either a modern western, or Asian style. These are flavours I enjoy.

Are there any foods you just don’t like?

I always try everything but there is a fruit called Durian that I will never eat again.

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Favourite cookbooks?

Guide Larousse and Escoffier is probably still the best cook book out there.

Where do you see yourself in five years?

Hopefully still here! But in 10 I’d love to start teaching others to cook and pass on my skills and hopefully my passion.

What is going to be the next big thing in the food world?

After Covid-19 I believe people will be even more conscious about health and eat better than ever. Hopefully we will eat more sustainable foods too.

What do you do for fun?

I try to go to the gym every day to keep fit and I love to watch Formula 1.

Where is your favourite place in the world?

Anywhere as long as I have my own space and time. I love it when I have serenity.

What do you most love about your job?

Meeting people who are passionate about food, cooking and creativity.

If you had just one wish, what would it be?

To have more time.

What would be your ‘Last Supper’ meal? Your ‘Death Row’ meal, as the late Anthony Bourdain put it?

Bouillabaisse. Simple.

Prices start from Dhs495 for the soft drink package.

04 602 1814

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