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A taste for adventure.

Travel broadens the mind as the saying goes, and many of our readers will agree. Frenchman Michel Breliere was certainly a firm believer and has clocked up his fair share of air miles on his way to becoming executive chef at the Ramada Jumeirah Hotel.

Name a country, and there's a fair chance that Michel has worked there, brushing up on his culinary skills and perfecting a broad palate.

After learning his trade at the Michelin-starred 'Georges Blanc' in his native France, he packed up his trusty knives and hit the road.

From the Hayman Island Resort in Australia, to the Mandarin Oriental in Jakarta, Michel then enjoyed similar high-end positions in Bali, Bora Bora and Tunis.Ce

Lebanon, Jordan and the Caribbean followed before two years in Mumbai, a stint in Cancun, New Orleans and evenCecommunist Cuba.

From then it was on to Bangkok for four years, before he settled into his new job in the UAE. So what drives Chef Michel?

"It is the different cuisine of course, but it is different people and different cultures too that are important to learn about and enjoy," he explains. "I'm a food lover, so of course I will try any type of food. I really loved to discover all these different cuisines.

"Indonesia has some real treats, some very specific special dishes. And with India, it was such a fantastic experience to see what you can do with the vegetarian food and the spices, the culture and life is incredible there. If you are travelling in India, it has its own food culture. People are very demanding about the authenticity of flavours and of course, the way of cooking."

The learning curve can be steep, as any traveller knows. And Chef Michel has had some interesting experiences. He says: "Cuba was a fascinating one - not to be repeated! The system was extremely different. You always knew what you didn't have available, but you didn't know what you wouldn't have tomorrow. In the kitchen, each chef had a seal with wax that they had to use to keep their fridge closed!"

Things aren't so tough here in Dubai. He's overseeing the Southeast Asian cuisine on offer at Ginger, and says: "The head chef is Thai, half the team is Sri Lankan, half Indonesian. Some specialise in Chinese, others into Sushi and Sashimi, others into Thai curries and Indonesian. They are getting great experience here of some different cuisines."

GINGER'S CRAB ROLL

Chef Michel is executive chef at the new Ramada Jumeirah Hotel. He's used his palate and picked out a tasty Southeast Asian treat from the Ginger restaurant for 7DAYS readers to try at home

INGREDIENTS (SERVES 2)

crab meat (700/800g)

minced chicken 3g

carrot 40g

spring onion 30g

shiitake 5g

water chestnut 30g

red chili 1pc, egg

soy sauce 50ml

soya bean skin 1pc

sweet chili sauce 100ml

cooking oil 25ml

INSTRUCTIONS:

Cut vegetables into small brunoise. Mix the crab meat and minced chicken together with the vegetables. Add the egg and chopped red chili

MAKING THE ROLL:

Soak the soybean skin in cold water, then drain. Place flat onto your table top (neat and clean)

Add the filling mixture on one side and roll up

Close tightly with a string (Butcher string)

Steam for five minutes

Allow to cool down and reserve until needed

Shallow fry

Cut into an inch long pieces

PRESENTATION:

On a plate with banana leaves. Serve sauce separately. Enjoy!

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Publication:7 Days (Dubai, United Arab Emirates)
Date:Nov 9, 2011
Words:588
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