Michelin Star Chef Akmal Anuar A Tale of Talent and Determination

  • Publish date: Monday، 27 June 2022
Michelin Star Chef Akmal Anuar A Tale of Talent and Determination

Chef Akmal Anuar moved to Dubai many years ago from Singapore to pursue his passion for the craft of cuisine.

Anuar is a partner and co-proprietor of known venues in the UAE and abroad, such as Goldfish Sushi & Yakitori, 11 Woodfire, Chie, Otoro Abu Dhabi and 53 NYC.

We sat with him for a talk in the beautiful setting of Goldfish Sushi & Yakitori Restaurant.

Chef Anuar told us that as a young boy, he was introduced to the food world by his parents who owned a shop in Singapore. They showed him how to peel onions, pick up and clean the dishes; how to make noodles and rice.

His days were split between school and work, with little time to experience the joys of kids his age. “I didn't like it” he says, “I hated it because on Sundays my friends would play soccer or video games but I would be dragged down to work.”

But talent doesn’t concern itself with the frustrations of a young boy. It knows what the future holds, and wait patiently.

“I had honed in on my skill, I had built a craft, I could withstand pressure, I could deal with people because I met so many people in the shop” he says. 

It would however take years for his mindset to follow suit. “My hands were useful
but my brain was not the most academic in terms of studies”

He told us of technical or culinary schools gone wrong, of working odd jobs in bars, discos or airports; The story of a young man wandering.

Michelin Star Chef Akmal Anuar A Tale of Talent and Determination

Many artists will remember their turning points. Chef Anuar’s came at an entirely unexpected moment. 

“I was with a friend and we ended up just outside a restaurant when the Chef came out, he was in full white. White jacket, white pants, white shoes, white socks, white top hat, and my friend said “That’s a chef! You are not a chef”

Chef Anuar told us how hard it hit him, because he wanted to do something with his life. 

The next day he went back to that same restaurant, a French restaurant called “Les Amis” (Friends) and asked for a job. 

“I asked for a job once, two times, three times and got rejected. Finally I got an interview.” He says with pride.

“The first position I was given was as dishwasher. I had never seen an asparagus, never seen a salmon, or a whole fish broken down” 

Chef Anuar had finally found his path, and from that moment, his passion and skill grew exponentially, paving the way to a successful and inspiring career.


A post shared by GOLDFISH (@goldfishdubai)

Today, at age 40, he owns four restaurants in Dubai and has just opened one in New York City. 

Goldfish Sushi & Yakitori, where we sat with Chef Anuar is one of those restaurants and we asked him to tell us about it.

“Goldfish has been open since January 2022. We serve the community. We serve the residents, we're humble, casual.” He says, which we found very modest given how beautiful, richly decorated and welcoming the venue is, let alone the unique dishes.

Chef Anuar told us of his team, who have worked with him for years, hence creating a very strong connection, which echoes through their dishes.

Michelin Star Chef Akmal Anuar A Tale of Talent and Determination

We tasted some of the dishes and when asked about them, chef Anuar said 

“I am trained as a French cuisine chef but my love for Japan has been a yearly adventure, I go back every year. I didn’t have a mentor or main influence but I loved it so I adapted and learned, and today I believe I am a pretty awesome sushi chef!”

“Whatever I find interesting, colourful, I do it. I try to be as authentic as possible, not to be too adventurous or move away too much from the spirit of Japanese cuisine. Still authentic, but my way.”

Address: Galleria Mall, Al Wasl Rd, Jumeirah 1 

Timing: Open daily from 12pm-midnight

For Booking: +971 4 886 4966