With over 15 years of extensive experience in the hospitality industry, spanning realms like food &beverage, restaurant operations, banquet operations, and department financials & hotel management, Mr. Picco Alapatt lives in the UAE and currently works as an executive chef at Gulf Court Hotel Business Bay.
He has worked for various reputed brands like Fairmont Hotels, The Ritz-Carlton, Taj Hotels, and Jumeirah Hotels. He is equipped with a variety of skills, techniques, and deep knowledge of many cuisines.
Chef Picco believes in creating new food combinations to excite the palate and turn every meal into a memorable culinary experience for his guests.
Here’s an excerpt of the interview with Chef Picco Alapatt, when he recently sat down with us, to discuss his love for food and cooking:
1. How did you get your start in the F&B industry?
I actually started off as an intern at the Taj Group of best hotels in India. Upon completion of my internship, I began my career there and worked at the Taj Hotel in Bangalore for about 4 years. After Taj, I moved to my first overseas job at The Ritz-Carlton, Bahrain, where I worked for 2 years. Then, I got a glimpse of Dubai at the Jumeirah Beach Hotel.
I moved back to Bahrain to join the preopening of Royal Golf Club. A little later, I got an opportunity to join The Fairmont Group in Abu Dhabi, where I worked for 5 years.
I was part of the preopening of Fairmont, Ajman. From there, I moved to Fairmont in Kenya. And, I recently joined the team at the Gulf Court Hotel in Business Bay.
2. How do you describe the food in your outlets at Gulf Court Hotel Business Bay?
Actually, at the Gulf Court Hotel Business Bay, we have about six F&B outlets, starting with Café Délices on the ground floor, a luxury cafe in business bay. It is not a typical coffee joint. In fact, it is more than just a cafe.
We offer an extensive menu, including salads, sandwiches, pasta, pastries, amazing coffees, and teas. It has a great panoramic view of the Dubai Water Canal, where guests can unwind and enjoy some shisha and our happy hour deals.
The other one is our all-day dining Al Waha restaurant a best business bay restaurant, which provides à la carte and buffet throughout the day; for breakfast, lunch, and dinner. Each individual has different palates and likings, for which we serve international cuisines, from West to East, giving our guests a lot of options to choose from.
Then, we have our Asian Naisa Oriental Restaurant, which is a perfect place for those who are into authentic Asian flavours or who like to have an intimate private dining experience.
We do not just offer Asian cuisines, we also like to give every guest a culinary journey, when they walk into our doors. We have a wide range of cuisines, including Thai, Sri Lankan, Nepalese, Japanese, Indian, Korean, Indonesian and a bit of Chinese included in our menu, for our guests to choose from.
We also have a very interactive kitchen, where you can watch our talented Sushi chefs crafting some fine sushi and sashimi.
If you prefer a private space with a group of friends to savour some mouth-watering bites while you jam to the best music, visit The Other Office Karaoke.
Lastly, we have Sports on 4 and The Canal Lounge, which I would say is the latest hot-spot in town, because of its unique style and atmosphere. It is apt for millennials and the older generation, as well.
We serve fine gourmet-style bar food such as Barbeque Beef Ribs, Thai Fish Cake Sliders, Tandoori Jhinga with a twist, Philly Cheese Steak, and the traditional classic Bahraini Tikka. Sports on 4 and the
Canal Lounge are inter-connected, which provides our guests access to the terrace area in The Canal Lounge, which overlooks the beautiful cityscape and the Dubai Water Canal.
3. What is your finest food memory?
The finest food memory I have is from the time I spent with my best weekend chef – my dad. He would cook for the whole family on weekends and his speciality is that, he could take any ingredient available and make it into a hearty meal.
He is my inspiration when it comes to cooking food. He actually instilled the importance of food in my life, and made me understand how important it is to bring peace, happiness, and satisfaction to whoever consumes it.
4. Why did you become a chef?
My love for food is endless. I love to learn new things in the culinary space, eat a good meal, cook good food, and satisfy my guests’ hunger. I love involving myself in preparing food. It is a good way to bring people together.
When I was a kid, I used to watch my dad cook with utmost passion, which motivated me to become a chef.
5. What is your greatest strength in the kitchen?
My greatest strength is my patience. The culinary field is technical; it is intricate and lies in the details. So, patience is key! When you have to teach or lead, or even when it comes to creating dishes or presenting your thoughts on a plate, patience plays a major role.
Cooking is an art! It is a way of communication. Cuisine-wise, my strength is Italian, and of course, Indian cuisine, which are part of my roots. Though, my patience is my greatest strength.
6. Give us the best cooking tip for a novice.
Love what you do! Always do it with passion! Even if it is as simple as boiling an egg. Do it with your heart! Passion drives your motivation and motivation will give you satisfaction and happiness.
7. Picco’s Taco Tuesday is one of the theme buffets at Gulf Court Hotel Business Bay. Can you describe the concept?
It all started with the Taco. Just like the saying goes, less is more. Tex-Mex food looks very simple, but its ingredients are complex in flavours, especially when they are combined together.
I like to keep the food simple and let the dish speak for itself, with its aromas, flavours, and the taste. And of course, with an exciting presentation when served.
8. Who is your favourite chef?
With the list of very few favourites, I would put Chef Gianpaolo Maffini at the top of my list. The sole reason for that is the simplicity of his work.
He has taught me a lot in culinary and made cooking look so easy and fresh, deep in my mind, which made me want to learn more on every possible occasion.