CHEF TALK: Mohamed Abbas, Head Chef at Al Wathba, shares his insights

His focus is to create an entirely new collection culinary experiences for all the hotel’s outlets.

Hailing from Egypt, an incredible tourist destination, Mohamed was inspired to pursue a career in hospitality.

While studying, his passion to work in the culinary field ignited, especially since the kitchen is considered to be the most important cog in a hotel operation that requires you to engage in learning throughout your career.

Taking on such a challenge made it even more attractive, since graduating from a hotel school in the culinary field required students to be the top performers in class.


Chefs in Abu Dhabi


Chef Mohamed was first immersed in the preparation of Arabic cuisine, before venturing out to conquer a variety of Mediterranean cuisines and then followed by running an American-style Steakhouse Grill.

In time for the winter season, Chef Mohamed’s primary focus as Head Chef at Al Wathba, a Luxury Collection Desert Resort & Spa is to create an entirely new collection culinary experiences for all the outlets, with a few new exciting concepts to be launched as well.


How did you first enter the world of hospitality?


The tourism industry in Egypt, which is where I’m from, is massive and has historically been a destination associated with travellers from all around world. Having seen this world of hospitality in full flow back home, I was inspired to consider a career in hospitality and have never looked back since.


Chef Mohamed, with your incredible experience within hospitality, you must have brought have something to the table at Al Wathba, a Luxury Collection Desert Resort & Spa in terms of ideas, dishes and so on.


Al Wathba, a Luxury Collection Desert Resort & Spa, is very unique in terms of a destination which is highlighted by the fact that even though it’s located amid the Arabian desert, the resort is only a 45-minute drive from the airport or an hour from the city centre. My primary focus is to further develop the dining destination that the resort already is, by creating unforgettable memorable moments through culinary experiences that will last a lifetime. As the winter season approaches, my team and I are working on new menus for our restaurants, theatrical dining options and a lot more. So, stay tuned.


In your view, what is a must-order dish at Al Wathba that diners shouldn’t miss?


We have two dishes that are a must-order. At Bait Al Hanine, we have the Seafood Mix, while at Terra Secca, our Risotto Eleonora is impressive and definitely is an experience worth savouring.

What make a good chef great?


First you need to keep learning and educating yourself about the craft – from new techniques, styles of cooking and so on – you have to keep yourself updated. Next it is important to be a team player, be respectful to everyone and have a set target and goal in front of you that needs to be achieved. If you fulfil the above, then you can definitely be a great chef.


When you are off duty, what is your go-to cuisine?


Japanese. It is a cuisine whereby no matter what you eat or however much of it you eat, you will never get bored of it.


Tell us, Chef Mohamed, if you weren’t a chef, where would have life taken you in terms of your career?


I’m the only one in my family who is in the hospitality industry. It was a decision I took which was a completely out of the box considering the fact that no one else in my family pursued a career in this industry. If I wasn’t a chef, I would probably follow my father’s footsteps and would have been a serviceman.

Image source Al Wathba, a Luxury Collection Desert Resort & Spa