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Interview: Sushisamba Dubai’s Moon Kyung Soo on social media and standing out

The chef talks about Sushisamba’s ‘fun dining’ concept and why the Dubai outpost is already extending its opening hours

At age of 16, Moon Kyung Soo had two dreams. He wanted to be either a policeman or a chef. Growing up in a modest Korean family, chef Moon would watch his mother as she prepared the family meals. She was known as the best “chef” in the family. Inspired by her, when Moon turned 17, he decided that he wanted to cook. He saw the act of cooking as something magical that unites people and makes them happy.

Fast forward to present-day and, within two months of operations, Moon is bracing himself for the extended opening hours at London-born Sushisamba’s Dubai outpost. We caught up with him there to find out more about his background and future.

Connecting Travel:How did you get your big break in the business?
Moon Kyung Soo: I believe that we’re constantly growing, and it’s critical to remain grounded as otherwise cooking becomes secondary. I’ve been fortunate to work on many exciting projects and I’ve appeared on several TV shows but I’m hesitant to pinpoint one breaking point in my career as it has been an ongoing journey. As cliché as it may sound, Dubai has been good to me and given me great opportunities which have helped me to grow not only career-wise but also personally.

The concept will  Sushisamba will open for lunch from 28 January

CT:What professional achievements are you most proud of?
MKS: I was named ‘Mentor Chef of the Year’ by the Culinary University in Singapore in 2013 and 2014.

CT:You’ve worked in cities across the globe. What attracted you to Dubai and your role as culinary director at Sushisamba?
MKS: I first arrived in Dubai back in 2008, so Dubai was no stranger to me. What drew me to the position is my background as I’m specialised in traditional Japanese cooking, and my philosophy, as I believe in fun dining rather than fine dining, and that’s what Sushisamba is! It’s all about good food and fun.

CT:How does Dubai’s F&B scene compare to others you’ve worked in?
MKS: Nowadays, Dubai’s F&B market is the most advanced in the world and is the most aligned with today’s digital world.

When chefs create dishes, they need to think about presentation and creating that ‘wow’ factor

Technology has become an inseparable part of our daily life, hence ensuring that guests photograph our dishes and post their photos on social media is critical for a restaurant’s success.

TaquitosThe concept specialises in ‘fun dining’

CT:What food trend would you like to see grow in popularity?
MKS: Mindful and healthy eating. Healthy foods should take over the market, this includes healthy ingredients as well as cooking methods.

CT:How does Sushisamba stand out from other Dubai restaurants?
MKS: Most restaurants in Dubai offer great food, drinks, beautiful interiors and entertainment. While all these factors are extremely important for a restaurant to succeed, we wanted a unique location and I believe that our location in Nakheel Tower, which makes us the highest restaurant on the Palm Jumeirah, is a bonus.

Sushisamba Dubai offers a 360-degree view of the entire Dubai skyline. In addition, we focus on service and our guests. We want them to always feel welcome and as though they are at home.

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CT:Have any local flavours inspired your dishes?
MKS: Yes, we actually use sumac powder in some of our ‘seviches’ and tiradiros. The powder adds a tangy and sour flavour.

CT:What’s next for Sushisamba?
MKS: Since our dinner operation is up and running smoothly, we have decided to extend our opening hours. Sushisamba will be open for lunch from 28 January, which is super exciting as guests will be able to experience Sushisamba in a completely different setting with views stretching all the way from Burj Khalifa to Ain Dubai and the Atlantis hotel. We’ll also offer the Vivo Business lunch menu, which is a two-course menu priced at AED139 per person.

For more information, visit www.sushisamba.com/locations/dubai

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