Fort Young Hotel & Dive Resort is pleased to announce it has been awarded Green Globe Certification, one of the highest standards for sustainability worldwide. Only the second property in Dominica to earn this accolade, the resort is recognised for its multiple community initiatives and committed management team. Among the resort’s eco-friendly practices highlighted in […]Read more
Fort Young Hotel welcomes visitors from around the world to experience Dominica’s rich culture. And while much of our guests’ experiences are centered on Dominica, we love being able to pay homage to our guests by weaving in global influence with our local flair.
With an impressive background in Italian, modern-fusion, Indian, and Arabic cuisine, Fort Young Hotel’s new Executive Chef Mohamed Abu can make you feel right at home or take your taste buds on a culinary adventure. Get to know Chef Mohamed below.
Who is Chef Mohamed? What would you like guests to know about you?
I am a well-experienced and highly skilled professional chef who is proficient in all aspects of food preparation, often focusing on various cuisines. I create exquisite food, striving to keep up to date with the latest trends and be extremely good at interpersonal relations.
I focus on an eco-friendly experience—such as sourcing ingredients locally and using green energy products. I have an authentic commitment to sustainability and 100% satisfaction.
How or when did you first become interested in food/a career as a chef?
When I was 14 years old, my Grandma would say, “Is this where the world began? For surely it had begun in no other than a place like this.” The kitchen, without a doubt, was the center of creation: all things revolved about it and it was the pediment that sustained the holy place.
Food is memory. The art of cooking or sitting down to a meal with friends and family, or simply that act of taking that first bite has the ability to transport us to another time and place. The food experience that either changed the way they think about food or inspired them to become a chef.
What is your first or most powerful memory around food?
Nothing is better than having memories of home food. My first powerful memories of home food the taste, flavour, and texture of food can be extraordinarily Evocative. And Food Memories involve very basic, Nonverbal, areas of the brain that can bypass our conscious awareness.
Can you tell us a little bit about your culinary background?
When you think culinary, immediately you think of the things you love to eat. I loved the fact that culinarians (or chefs) could decide what the ingredients would be and had the privilege of choosing the journey of each dish! There are specific cooking methods and techniques to learn, but it’s up to a chef to decide which methods to use and the overall appearance and taste of the dish. They can create fusions between different types of cuisines, or something that is completely unique.
I have 14+ years of culinary experience, where I have worked for various cuisines: specializing in Indian, Mediterranean cuisines, Italian cuisine, oriental Cuisines by learning under different chefs and also had the opportunity to work with 2 Michelin star chefs in exclusively Italian restaurants. In the Middle East, I worked in one of the top 10 Italian restaurants which was also awarded the best Italian Restaurant in 2013.
What’s the biggest lesson you’ve learned about cooking or food service in your career?
When the world seems crazy, food makes us believe that there is something worth fighting for. When we are hungry, food shows us how simple life can be so long we have something nice to eat. When people let us down, good food will always be there for us.
So the lessons are: life is a challenge, work together, food matters, you have to have fun, there is magic in the mundane, use all your senses, be proud of yourself, there’s a world to discover, it’s okay to make mistakes.
How will you incorporate local flavors and traditions into the menu at FYH?
Working together with local culinarians in my team, and getting to know the local vendors’ products, to implement the traditional flavor into the menu. Also adding local flavor can help bring more guests a taste of the local culture. Even if our location is known for multiple things, incorporate them all. Whether you crave the taste of tradition or are hungry for innovative modern dishes, my guide to eateries serving up local flavors is bound to whet your appetite.
From where do you draw inspiration when cooking?
From ingredients: Regional produce, spices and herbs create a plethora of tastes and flavors unique to every area. Using the local and seasonal ingredients to gather inspiration is common for chefs, who are often people who love food and culture.
Do you have a signature dish you plan to introduce to FYH guests?
Being a specialty chef, I have a lot of signature dishes with various cuisines, which I’m excited to share with FYH guests—including many dishes you can’t get in other hotels or restaurants in Dominica.
These include Chicken Biryani, Vegetable Samosa, Asian Crab Cake, Homemade Pizzas, Banana Baked Fish, Mushroom Risotto, Vegan Sliders, Shawarma, Luqaimat, and more.
What’s your vision for the menu at FYH?
Delivering memorable moments with 100% local flavors.
What excites you most about living in Dominica?
The Caribbean island oasis is getting more and more exciting. Incredible adventure experiences include volcanoes, sulfur springs, black-sand beaches surrounding the capital city of Roseau, the second-largest boiling lake in the world, practicing herbal medicine for centuries, whale watching around the island.
What’s the best part about being a chef?
I believe that there is a world of fantastic career paths out there, but like me if you love food, are creative, and thrive on making people happy, there’s no better job than being a chef. Why being a chef could be a career for you too: You are the master of your own domain, you get to build and work with a fantastic team, you are in demand all over the world, you have the chance to be creative every day, and you get the honor of making people happy, every single day.
What would you tell someone who aspires to be a chef like you?
Cooking is a reciprocal gift for the chef and the consumer to celebrate the pleasure of tasting food. Patience is key. The more patience you and your team have, the further you can proceed. The food and beverage, service, and staff training all have to equally be ready to open, and that takes patience and experience.
Buy the freshest, best ingredients you can. Know your farmer, your butcher, your cheese maker, and your fishmonger. When you have a relationship with the people who produce your food, it will always be better quality.
Ready to indulge in Chef Mohamed’s creations?
Learn more about the dining options at Fort Young Hotel.