Five Minutes With... Christopher Graham

The executive chef at At.mosphere, Burj Khalifa talks about paternal influences and how he plans to stand out from the crowd
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Christopher Graham.
Christopher Graham.

Describe your earliest food memory?

My earliest food memory is from when I was around six or seven years old. My father was cooking my favourite childhood dish, lasagne, for dinner while showing me how to make the perfect complementary bolognaise sauce. I remember him teaching me to scrape the sides of the pan and season the dish correctly for a rich flavour.

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Who or what inspired you to become a chef?

With my father being a chef, I would say he was my inspiration. Throughout my childhood, whenever people asked what my dad did, I remember they would always have a great reaction when I said he was a chef. I guess as a kid I was always proud to say my old man was a chef as everyone thought it was cool! Funny that he would eventually try to talk me out of becoming one myself!

How would you describe your culinary style?

I like to play on classic ideologies and present them in a modern, thought-provoking manner. I also enjoy using different textures and contrasting flavour combinations to show how some unexpected products surprisingly go well together.

While I do use some modern technologies, I don’t like to go overboard with them. I like my dishes to still resemble food in the best way — naturally and without playing with it too much.

Likewise, quality execution is a must. I respect the art of cooking — a passion I try to instill in my team by giving them the freedom to cook using their intuition. I’d rather have them cook fish with a pan instead of with a vacuum pack bag and water bath.

What are some of the pros and cons of being a Dubai-based chef?

One challenge is finding the best quality of local produce. However, it’s great that we’re able to build trusting relationships with small suppliers and farms to get top produce, or even go to a market to get the freshest seasonal produce for our restaurant. We only want the best.

Another challenge is trying to plan a week ahead while trying to work seasonally. The benefit is that we can always use our central geographic location here in Dubai to our advantage. If Europe is coming to the end of its season for a product, it would normally be about the start in Australia.

How do you plan to make your mark at At.mosphere Burj Khalifa?

I work closely with my team at At.mosphere, Burj Khalifa to establish ourselves as the pinnacle of dining experiences in Dubai.

We are absolutely committed to being the very best! The management team offers a strong support mechanism along with their trust, allowing me not only to look at the food we offer, but also all aspects of the culinary dining experience.

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