Michelin-starred chef Juan Amador has teamed up with Rotana to open a new
restaurant at Park Rotana Abu Dhabi this February. Here, the masterchef shares his vision for fusing European and Arab cuisine and why we’ll adore his purple curry.
Enjoying a meal cooked by Juan Amador is no ordinary dining experience. With three Michelin
stars to his name, Amador is considered one of the leading lights in avant garde cuisine. He’s known for combining gourmet influences from different cultures, creating recipes with scientific precision and constantly working on new textures and flavours.His famed Mieral pigeon with purple curry (which is actually a mixture of oriental spices) has been given the thumbs up by food critics around the world. Amador, however, has always taken success in his stride.
The son of Spanish parents, Amador was born close to Stuttgart in Germany so, growing up, was influenced by both cultures. A chance job offer led him to work as a trainee chef – although he
really wanted a place on the hotel management course. However, during his apprenticeship, he shone under the guidance of acclaimed German chef Albert Bouley, whom he worked with at
the Restaurant Waldhorn in Ravensburg. Inspired by Bouley’s minimalistic, Asian style of cooking, Amador went on to make a name for himself and was awarded his first Michelin star at the age
of 25 as executive chef at Petersilie restaurant in Lüdenscheid, Germany.
In 2004 he opened his first restaurant, Amador, in Langen near Frankfurt and created his very own interpretation of Spanish cuisine. More Michelin stars followed and his next big project is
bringing him to Abu Dhabi…
Rotana: You’re set to launch a restaurant at Park Rotana Abu Dhabi this year. How did the idea come about?
Juan Amador: I always thought that Abu Dhabi was a great place to be and to run a restaurant. I got in contact with Rotana through Mr Selim El Zyr [President & CEO ] and we decided to do business together. Now I will be travelling to the emirate every three months to help look after the new eatery.
Rotana: You are influenced by Spanish and German culture as well as Asian food– how does this manifest in your cuisine?
Juan Amador: We are combining techniques from the European kitchen alongside Arabian influences – especially herbs and spices. While dining in the Middle East, staple dishes such as mezze and couscous have influenced me the most. However, there is an amazing variety of exotic flavours that can add a fresh and exciting twist to Spanish- and German-style dishes.
Rotana: What can we expect to find on the menu?
Juan Amador: Some of the highlights include carabineros (jumbo red shrimp) with lemon, nougat and cauliflower and Mieral pigeon served with jellied coconut milk, mango and purple curry.
Rotana: How can we get the most out of the dining experience?
Juan Amador: The most important guiding principle for me is that my creations should be unforgettable for my guests, so come without prejudice and make up your own mind.
Rotana:You achieved your first Michelin star aged 25 – how does it feel to have achieved success so young?
Juan Amador: It was an amazing experience and made me hungry for more. Here in Abu Dhabi, there are already lots of very good restaurants, but I am hoping that we will influence the scene with our avant garde kitchen style.
Rotana: Where are your favourite spots in Abu Dhabi?
Juan Amador: My favourite places are the Qasr Al Hosn fort, the Corniche, the Yas Marina Circuit and Ferrari World. Also I am amazed by the Sheikh Zayed Grand Mosque. To relax, I visit other good restaurants in town and, of course, I enjoy the great hospitality of Rotana Hotels & Resorts.
Rotana: Do you cook at home?
Juan Amador: I love cooking at home. In my fridge there is always French cheese, Spanish meat and German bread.
Rotana: What has been the best meal you’ve ever had and why?
Juan Amador: I hope that this dish will come in the future.
Rotana:Who or what inspires you?
Juan Amador: Everything in life inspires me, such as nature, people, animals, food and food markets, but especially eating at other good chefs’ restaurants.
Rotana: If you weren’t a top chef, what would you be doing with your life?
Juan Amador:I’d be a pilot.
Rotana:What can we expect to see from
Juan Amador:Together with Rotana, it’s possible that we may open another restaurant in the UAE, or elsewhere in the Middle East, so watch this space.