August 23, 2021
Gamechanger – Chef Andrew
Mostly working behind the scenes, Filipino talents in the fiercely competitive culinary sector in the region were largely “invisible” to the mainstream. Chef Andrew Paderes broke through the glass ceiling, stamping not only Filipino representation but also leadership in the field.
Having honed his skills at Chef Gordon Ramsay’s Maze in Qatar and Nobu in London – Chef Andrew has been thriving in Dubai’s cutthroat food scene, carving a path in the industry for many Filipino culinary professionals to follow. The first Filipino to be recognized alongside celebrity chefs from all over the globe at the annual Taste of Dubai – the country’s most renowned culinary event for gourmands, Chef Andrew has also served as Executive Chef at The Gramercy at swanky DIFC, then Claw BBQ Crabshack and Grill, and as Group Executive Chef for hip brand Stars and Bars. He currently works as Executive Chef at Catch 22 – a multi-cuisine foodie hotspot with branches in the UAE and KSA, leading a multicultural team.
Continuing to serve as a role model not only for Filipinos but also for aspirants from other countries, he has helped shape the careers of many: “For me, success is being able to impact those you work with. I was able to train both Filipino and non-Filipino talents from the lowest positions in the kitchen into leading forces in their work environments. Being true and fair with the people I work with has had a positive influence in all the workplaces I have been in.”
It’s not every day that you hear of a Pinoy chef with the success and leadership forte of Chef Andrew Paderes. Group Executive Chef at wildly successful Stars N Bars at Jumeirah’s hip and happening shorefront venue, La Mer, Andrew brings to the table a fresh take on American cuisine, peppered by influences from around the world.
With a perpetual hunger for excellence, Andrew says his assertiveness stems from his experience working at Nobu in London, and then at Gordon Ramsay’s restaurant Maze in Doha. Thereon, Chef Andrew became Executive Chef at The Gramercy at swanky DIFC, and then Claw BBQ Crabshack and Grill, and was the only Filipino featured in the city’s definitive annual foodie event – The Taste of Dubai. According to him, positivity, ambition, and humility are the qualities which determine success.
“Deliver beyond the expected. Keep yourself grounded and humble. No matter how high you soar in your field, make sure you can be a model for others by leading them closely and not from a distance.”
Endeavoring to exemplify Filipino talent on a global scale, Andrew is working on a collaboration with European contemporaries on a project known as 13 Chefs – the launch of which, he hosted in the UAE. He was also given the opportunity to do heritage cooking in Ukraine, sharing Filipino cuisine with the fraternity of chefs there. Of the project, he says, “I’m so excited as I get the chance to promote the food from my home, the food I grew up with, in a country where our culinary identity is not yet recognized.”
Special thanks to our sponsors: Emirates Airline, Stars n Bars La Mer, Liali, Instax – Grandstores UAE, Dusit Thani Dubai, Gver – Your Friendly Marketplace for Sharing, Meeting Dancewear , MPQ, CMG, Filbrit, and our partners Rozen Antonio Photography, Alex Callueng Photography, Jef Anog Photography, and Ethereal Photography.
When Chef Andrew Paderes was offered the role of Executive Chef by his first employer in Dubai, he had to ask himself if he could truly step up to the plate. From working at Nobu in London, then Gordon Ramsay’s restaurant Maze in Qatar, Chef Andrew found his way to Dubai as the Executive Chef at the swanky The Gramercy, located at the DIFC, Dubai’s bustling financial district, alongside international brands. The restaurant had a famously distinguished clientele, and for a while, Chef Andrew doubted if he had the skills to live up to its high profile reputation.
But with sheer determination and perseverance, as well as his popular signature dish of seared scallops and jumbo prawns, not only was he able to meet expectations, but surpass them and move on to become a key figure in Dubai’s gastronomic scene.
Currently, Chef Andrew, who has been the only Filipino featured in the city’s definitive annual foodie event – The Taste of Dubai, is the Executive Chef for Claw BBQ Crabshack and Grill. “On few occasions when I had to go out of the kitchen and present myself as The Chef, I can’t help but notice the tone of surprise from customers,” he says. “I bet they are gladly surprised to learn I am a Filipino.”
In his years of working as the head of one of Dubai’s busiest kitchens, Chef Andrew has learned the value of being assertive. He has discovered that there is no room for being submissive – especially in the restaurant business. In fact he had to train himself to let go of the “Yes sir” and “Yes ma’am” culture that is deeply ingrained in the Filipino mindset. “We Filipinos are at par with different nationalities, if not better,” he says. “I have learned to present my accomplishments and abilities in a way that showcases my worth as a professional. It really pays off, and you gain trust and respect.”
His advice to those who want to become chefs in Dubai: “Be assertive in the workplace but remain respectful of others and their culture. Always remember that you gain respect if you give respect. Always keep your feet on the ground. It’s so easy to become overconfident and conceited as you climb the professional ladder. You have to be careful about that too.”
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