What’s On meets What’s On Awards 2014 best chef in Dubai, Colin Clague, head chef at Dubai’s best Middle Eastern restaurant, Qbara Dubai.

Colin Clague
Wise words from the man in charge at Qbara

The perfect meal has as much to do with the company as the food. With family and good friends, even a burger can be a feast.

At Qbara I was bowled over at the chance to play with Middle Eastern ingredients. Having lived in the region for years, it was a chance to revisit known dishes and put a contemporary twist on them.

In my fridge there is always HP sauce and Branston Pickle. And good British cheese, of course.

I like how the food scene in Dubai is evolving. So many new restaurants are opening up, so everybody raises their game. But some of the prices are ridiculous.

I have cooked for royalty and movie legends. I was lucky to cook for Nelson Mandela and Mikhail Gorbachev. But the first first time I met former Arsenal footballer Dennis Bergkamp I could hardly speak.

I have a great affinity for sharks and I’m a keen scuba diver. I’ve never eaten shark and I never will.

I have a past connection with Zuma, where I used to work, and I still love it. But my other favourite Dubai restaurants are La Petit Maison, La Serre, Toko, and the Rivington At Souk al Bahar. I also enjoy Manvaar in Karama for really good value Indian food.

Qbara, Wafi Fort Complex, next to Raffles Hotel, Dubai, Sat to Wed 6pm to 2am, Thur and Fri 6pm to 3am. Tel: (04) 7092500. Taxi: Raffles Hotel. qbara.ae.