Chef Mustapha Haj Omar is considered one of the most sought-after chefs in the Middle East and has recently been appointed Executive Sous Chef, Master of Oriental and Mediterranean Cuisine at Metzo’s restaurant at Outrigger Laguna Phuket Beach Resort.
No stranger to challenges, Chef Mustapha welcomes journeys of discovery both in and out of the kitchen and his passion in the art of fine dining is evident.
Chef Mustapha has had over 18 years of experience preparing fi ve-star dishes at many luxury hotels and resorts throughout the Persian Gulf and Asia such as One & Only Reethi Rah Resort and Spa in the Maldives, Mon Liban, Luxembourg, Shangri-La Villingili Maldives, the Sheraton Bahrain Hotel and Le Meridien Dubai, to name a few. He has cooked for royalty, celebrities and VIPs and even hosted his own cooking shows on Bahraini television. Chef Mustapha is probably the perfect definition of a celebrity chef and it certainly helped that he was raised in a restaurateur family.
We had a chance to chat with him recently and here is what we discovered about him.
When was it that you realised that you wanted to cook as a career?
It started when I was a teenager around 14-15 years old. My grandmother was the person who inspired me. Helping her with cooking in the kitchen led me more and more into it. I decided to learn more about food and cooking, for example how to implement a nice dish in a fine-dining restaurant.
Do you cook at home?
I have a passion to learn about local food. Usually on my day off or when I’m on holiday, I will try to cook local dishes I have tasted. Whenever I have local food I try to remember the ingredients and keep the memory of the
flavour and practice some of the techniques and cook the same at home.
What is your favourite dish at this moment? You seem to have fallen in love with Thai cuisine.
Tom yum goong. It’s sour and spicy, a perfect combination. I learn to cook this dish from my Thai friends. I enjoy both eating and cooking Thai food, it has special aromas and a wide variety of flavours; sweet, sour, and spicy.
Away from work, what are your leisure activities?
I sometimes go swimming and if possible I play football.
You are one of the most popular chefs in Middle East. How did that happen?
I use all of my fi ve senses when I prepare dishes and employ positive energy. You could say that I put my soul into the bowl!
We have heard that you have cooked for celebrities and royalty, what are the challenges involved?
Celebrities and royalty can, in general, afford to travel around the world and are usually highly experienced when it comes to food so it’s challenging to make them happy with the dishes’ presentation and of course the taste so you need a lot of passion.
Take a culinary tour of the healthy Mediterranean with Chef Mustapha at Metzo’s Bistro. Try the signature dish Samakeh Harra and everything from homemade pasta, to lamb, slow-cooked meat dishes and grills to delectable perfection – all accompanied by a great selection of wines.
Metzo’s Bistro is open daily from 6.30 pm to 10.30 pm. Chef Mustapha’s signature dishes at Metzo’s will be available from Friday 6 February. For reservations email firstname.lastname@example.org. Or call +66 (0) 76 360 600.
Samakeh Harra – grilled fish marinated in chilli, citrus and cilantro
Chef Mustapha explains: “It’s a Mediterranean dish and a good combination between local fish and sauce which is made from fresh ingredients such as vegetables, onion, garlic, pepper, coriander, parsley leaves cooked and sautéed in olive oil along with spices to create a good aroma and fl avour. The fish is gently cooked on the grill and served with sauce and potato wedges.”
Outrigger Laguna Phuket Beach Resort
323 Moo 2, Srisoonthorn Road,
Bangtao Beach, Phuket 83110
Phone: +66 (0) 76 360 600,
Fax: +66 (0) 76 360 670