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Chef David Myers on food and nostalgia

Words by Rob Chilton

David Myers from Bleu Blanc, Poppy and Basta at the Renaissance Downtown Hotel Dubai recalls the dishes from his past

Although travel is a huge inspiration for David Myers, the Boston-born chef happily recognises the power of nostalgia when it comes to what foods we like and dislike. The chatty chef, who has restaurants in Los Angles, Singapore, Tokyo and Dubai, spoke to EDGAR about the meals that conjure up the strongest memories from his past. He begins with a dish that tested his cooking skills.

The first dish I ever remember making...


“I was six and there was a commercial on TV showing how to cook the perfect egg. I went through about a dozen eggs trying to get it perfect – I ate all of them and felt terrible afterwards!”

Butter poached lobster risotto from Myers' Dubai menu

The dish that reminds me of family vacations as a kid...


“We used to go to the east coast over the summer, typically South Carolina or sometimes up north in Maine. We would either have crabs or lobster. When I finally started cooking I made a dish for my family out of this great cookbook from a chef in Hawaii. It was steamed crab with chilli and a mango Beurre Blanc sauce and was absolutely incredible. It was the first challenging sauce I ever made before becoming a professional chef.”

Myers has restaurants all over the world

The dish my parents used to make most often when I was a kid...


“We loved to grill outside on Saturday night, it was the time when the whole family got together, fired up the grill and got great steak. We would grill potatoes on the fire as well. I think that was probably the start of my love of cooking over an actual fire, a real flame, like we have in Bleu Blanc.”

Applying the finishing touches to Bistecca Fiorentina

The dish that reminds me of my first job in a kitchen...


“Every night I would go home and practice it, first because I was starving and wanted to eat, but secondly because I wanted to make it as well as the chef did. After a week of not getting it right I went back and asked the chef what I was doing wrong. He asked me, ‘Did you add salt?’ I realised I had never added salt to the dish. It is just basic tomato pasta with garlic, chilli and fresh basil and was the very first dish that I perfected.”

Myers plates a dish

The food I remember from my first trip to Italy...


“I went to Rome and Naples on my first trip to Italy and I was obsessed about getting great pizza. I got there and I thought the pizza was so thin. It wasn’t like the pizza I grew up eating, which was quite thick and American-style. The experience in Italy really turned me on to culture, different traditions and how people make food based on those traditions.”

Pizza at Basta! in Dubai by David Myers

The food that reminds me of high school...


“In high school we didn’t have this movement of organic, healthy and whole foods that they do in Los Angeles now. I remember lasagne that smelled terrible and peanut butter sandwiches that were dry and stale. I was really happy when my mum would make me a nice handmade Italian sub sandwich. And some leftover apple pie was always great.”

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