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Interview: ‘We’re looking at going international’ – chef Dave Mangiliman

Origami’s executive chef talks tea pairing, pricing and expansion in Dubai and beyond

Dave Mangiliman’s passion for the industry was ignited when he started travelling and trying food from other cultures. He was especially impressed by Japanese cuisine, finding it “artistic” and questioning how such delicate creations were made.

Eight years ago, he had the opportunity to create his own Japanese dishes at Origami, a homegrown, approachable Japanese-inspired restaurant in the Umm Suqeim neighbourhood of Dubai.

Having recently opened a new branch at the Dubai Mall, and with further expansion on the cards, Mangiliman talked to Connecting Travel about Origami’s new phase.

Connecting Travel: How did Origami begin?
Dave Mangiliman: Back in 2014, the market in Dubai was ready to welcome a well-packaged food and beverage concept that delivered on food quality and service. Being a young and passionate team, we had a lot to offer with all our knowledge and energy. When the doors of our very first Origami branch opened in Umm Suqeim, we experienced much more demand than was expected, which was fabulous.

CT: What’s next?
DM: After eight years in the market, we have rebranded and elevated the concept to the highest possible standards in terms of flavour, space and branding touch points. Now, we’re looking at expansion to other emirates and going international!

New style otoro sashimiNew style otoro sashimi

CT: What attracted you to your role at Origami?
DM: The challenge attracted me the most. We started from scratch and slowly created dishes that people truly love. At the same time, we educated guests to eat raw, as it was not widely known at that time. I wanted to prove to myself that I can do what other higher ranking chefs do in terms of creativity, flavour and consistency.

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CT: What’s your opinion on the F&B scene in Dubai?
DM: At the moment, Dubai’s F&B sector is at the peak of its diversity. A lot of internationally famous chefs have gathered in this city and brought knowledge and complex techniques that Dubai has never seen before. Guests are now very well educated about rare ingredients and they’re ready to explore new directions.

CT: Which food trends would you like to see grow?
DM: We took a step forward to educate our guests about tea, adding Japanese roasted green tea to our menu. We have five high-grade flavours – lemon, lychee, roasted caramel, white peach and genmaicha (rice tea) – that can be paired with a meal. For example, lemon tea goes best with meat.

I believe tea pairing with a meal is currently underrated by the end consumer

Wagyu katsu sandoWagyu katsu sando

CT: How does Origami stand out from its competitors in Dubai?
DM: The combination of quality, affordability and consistency is what our guests appreciate the most. While serving expensive ingredients such as Wagyu, otoro (tuna) and foie gras, we’ve been able to maintain the price level since launching eight years ago, without compromising on quality.

CT: Are there any flavours, ingredients or techniques from this region that have inspired you to create new dishes?
DM: What inspires me most in this region is the people. The amount of talent I have seen here and the flavours I’ve tasted… Observing these talents and their culinary creations, amid tight market competition, has made me who I am today.

For more information, visit www.origamidxb.com

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