Most Influential Filipinos in the Gulf – Chef Andrew Paderes – The Gourmet Guru
When Chef Andrew Paderes was offered the role of Executive Chef by his first employer in Dubai, he had to ask himself if he could truly step up to the plate. From working at Nobu in London, then Gordon Ramsay’s restaurant Maze in Qatar, Chef Andrew found his way to Dubai as the Executive Chef at the swanky The Gramercy, located at the DIFC, Dubai’s bustling financial district, alongside international brands. The restaurant had a famously distinguished clientele, and for a while, Chef Andrew doubted if he had the skills to live up to its high profile reputation.
But with sheer determination and perseverance, as well as his popular signature dish of seared scallops and jumbo prawns, not only was he able to meet expectations, but surpass them and move on to become a key figure in Dubai’s gastronomic scene.
Currently, Chef Andrew, who has been the only Filipino featured in the city’s definitive annual foodie event – The Taste of Dubai, is the Executive Chef for Claw BBQ Crabshack and Grill. “On few occasions when I had to go out of the kitchen and present myself as The Chef, I can’t help but notice the tone of surprise from customers,” he says. “I bet they are gladly surprised to learn I am a Filipino.”
In his years of working as the head of one of Dubai’s busiest kitchens, Chef Andrew has learned the value of being assertive. He has discovered that there is no room for being submissive – especially in the restaurant business. In fact he had to train himself to let go of the “Yes sir” and “Yes ma’am” culture that is deeply ingrained in the Filipino mindset. “We Filipinos are at par with different nationalities, if not better,” he says. “I have learned to present my accomplishments and abilities in a way that showcases my worth as a professional. It really pays off, and you gain trust and respect.”
His advice to those who want to become chefs in Dubai: “Be assertive in the workplace but remain respectful of others and their culture. Always remember that you gain respect if you give respect. Always keep your feet on the ground. It’s so easy to become overconfident and conceited as you climb the professional ladder. You have to be careful about that too.”