Last Bite: Bjorn Shen

The Singaporean chef-owner of Artichoke and Bird Bird talks about Dubai and what he'd be doing if he wasn't a chef
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Bjorn Shen.
Bjorn Shen.
FOOD & BEVERAGE, Executive Interviews, Bjorn shen, Singapore chef, Singapore street food, Street food dubai, Visiting chef dubai

What made you decide to take part in Eat the World DXB?

My friend, Luan another vendor at Eat the World DXB who runs Kerbside Gourmet, approached me. The word ‘Dubai’ was enough for me to grab the opportunity to participate in the event.

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How would you describe Dubai’s food scene?

If I have to describe Dubai’s food scene in one word, it would be dynamic. It is interesting to see how vibrant and buzzing it is.

You opened Artichoke back in 2010 followed by Bird Bird in 2015. What inspired you to go down the Middle-Eastern route for your first venture?

My housemate at the time was an Iranian, my best mates were Arabs, and my colleagues were from Lebanon and Turkey. Since I was practically surrounded by people from the Middle East and loved the food they cooked, I decided to dedicate my time to learn more about Middle Eastern cuisine and that’s how Artichoke was born.

You’ve been known to describe your style of cooking as “dude food.” Can you elaborate on that?

It is the art of elevating trashy junk food to new heights through culinary skill, quality ingredients, and creativity.

People call you the busiest man on the planet. What drives you?

I am busy because I lack the art of saying ‘no’ to things. This, I feel, is my weakness and therefore, even if something sucks, I still do it.

If you weren’t a chef, what would you be doing?

Crime.

Can you tell us what you are working on next?

I am learning how to say ‘no’.

Any advice for young chefs?

I would advise young chefs to put your heads down and work hard with diligence and dedication to learn the skills and become experts. It is not a good idea to change jobs every six months, because you only really start to learn one year into any job. Lastly, make yourself reliable and useful to your employer, so you will be entrusted with greater responsibility.

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