New Recruit: La Tablita's Ivan Vidal
We speak to the new chef de cuisine of La Tablita in the Hyatt Regency Dubai Creek Heights
What inspired you to get into the hospitality industry?
Since I was very young, I was always taught to help around the house with chores or in the kitchen. As I grew a little older, I realised that I just really enjoyed serving others and that it came naturally to me. After my first job at a restaurant, I just knew that’s exactly what I wanted to do.
How has your previous experience inspired you to get to where you are today?
Throughout my career many things have inspired me to be where I am today, but none like chef Alexander Rudin, who owned Laguna Grill in Cancun, where he kept a library full of books, had enormous curiosity, worked late-nights in the kitchen coming up with new recipes, dressed extravagantly, and travelled the world. At the time I was just at the start of my career, so I think that his larger-than-life personality and zest for life guided my belief that one day I could be just as successful, being unapologetically me.
How did your love for cooking begin?
Growing up in a traditional Latin family, food was always a big part of life. For example, I remember every Sunday without fail, my grandfather would take all the grandchildren to a different restaurant. I also vividly remember my dad’s love for cooking — always trying different things, always excited about new dishes; until he opened his own restaurant when I was 14. And just like that, little by little, my love for cooking began.
Tell us what brings you to Dubai?
Quite a few years back after I finished my studies in Switzerland, I was offered the opportunity to work in Dubai. At that time I couldn’t accept for various personal reasons, and had to return to Mexico instead. However, the idea of Dubai always stayed with me, and funny enough, almost 10 years later, an old school friend, and coincidently the former chef de cuisine of La Tablita called to ask if I would be interested in coming to the Middle East. And the rest is history.
What are your thoughts on Dubai’s food and beverage scene?
I love it! Dubai’s F&B scene is full of opportunities. It has so much life and dynamism. I find that customers are eager to try new concepts, and that exotic ideas excite and interest them. Professionally, I also think that the industry offers endless possibilities to those who are willing to work hard. The opportunity to learn is at everyone’s fingertips, and the cultural syncretism of the city makes for a living-breathing classroom, enriching every day.
What are some of the challenges you foresee?
Menu engineering can be a potential challenge given the multi-cultural character of Dubai’s residents and visitors. That being said, that same complexity doubles as great potential for professional growth, as it will certainly inspire me to constantly be trying and experimenting new things. Creativity and risk-taking will be key.
Where has been your favourite place to work so far, and why?
In one word, Acapulco. Not only is that city beautiful in its coastal simplicity, but it’s also the place where I made the most lasting memories. From summers spent by the beach with my family, to making lifelong friends, to holding my very first job as a chef.
In what ways are you planning to add to the success of the restaraunt?
Although La Tablita is already a known and loved restaurant, my aim is to make sure that the food, atmosphere, entertainment, drinks, and overall experience is so good, that we become an F&B destination par excellence. How? Well you will just need to stay tuned!