Raydan Abou Mahdi, Chef De Cuisine
Born in Bater, a small village in Lebanon, Chef Raydan Abou Mahdi began his career in the kitchen as he watched his mother expertly cook food for the entire family. By the age of 14, Raydan began cooking for his family and friends and soon enough he earned the nick name of ‘Masterchef’. Keen to turn his passion into a profession, he joined Shouf Technical College in Lebanon, where he pursued his experimentation with ingredients and spices.
After a brief spell with a specialty restaurant in Lebanon, Raydan made the shift to Jumeirah as an apprentice cook where he was part of a team that managed daily operations that included the Middle East’s first state of the art conference centre with a capacity of 5000 and an array of smaller venues. He helped cater the Dubai World Cup and various Royal Weddings using the best produce and set-ups while offering a fantastic food experience. At the young age of 22, he joined Empire Chefs Catering Services as a Sous Chef, managing a brigade of 45 chefs and assisting in pre-opening preparations.
Raydan moved on to working with various reputable hospitality institutions such as Starwood Hotels & Resorts Worldwide and Movenpick Hotels & Resorts before joining Abu Dhabi National Exhibition Centre (ADNEC) in 2011 as Executive Chef. His positioned gave him the responsibility of handling food and beverage operations which consisted of several restaurants as well as banqueting facilities that include 19 capital suites, two ballrooms, and 12 halls.
At ADNEC, Raydan also received recognition with his creation of Camel meat pizza where he experimented with ground camel meat by mixing it with ground beef or lamb for a variation in taste.
After an eventful stint at ADNEC, Raydan was invited back to Empire Chefs Catering where he was an integral part of a VIP event for H.H. Sheikha Khouloud, the wife of H.H. Sheikh Buti Al Maktoum. Through his career, Raydan has had the opportunity to cater to local dignitaries from Sheikh Mohammed Bin Rashid Al Maktoum and Princess Haya Bint Al Hussein to international starlets such as Naomi Campbell and Michael Jackson and from local celebrities such as Hussein Al Jasmi, Nancy Ajram and Mohammed Bin Sulayem to international dignitaries such as Ban Ki-moon.
At the end of 2013, Raydan Abou Mahdi joined luxury fine dining cruise Bateaux Dubai as Chef De Cuisine, becoming a part of one of the top ten experiences in Dubai. The boat is glass-enclosed, air-conditioned luxury vessel that cruises past the modern structures and historic landmarks along Dubai Creek. Every night, the boat departs from its mooring space in Bur Dubai for sightseeing cruises accompanied by a freshly prepared four-course à la carte dinner, selection of beverages and live music. Guests can also enjoy the 360-degree views on the outdoor deck as the vessel seamlessly cruises on Dubai’s famous waterway.
Chef Raydan Mahdi shares three tips he feels are integral for anyone who cooks:
- Cooking with Passion and Love
- Respect to the Cooking Technique
- Attention to Detail when Buying Specific Ingredients
Chef Raydan states that his biggest achievement is every compliment or appreciation he receives from guests. He certainly brings passion, dedication and determination to his new position and promises guests a world-class culinary experience as soon as they step onboard