Chef Omar: ‘Stay hungry and passionate, and things will fall into place’

Chef Omar is an Executive Chef and restaurant owner who is constantly learning and bringing new ideas to the culinary world. 

Omar Rodriguez grew up in San Francisco, California, and moved to New York to start his culinary journey. He stayed in “The Big Apple” for almost half of his life. In that city, his spirit molded him to become practical and wise in the world of gastronomy. 

“I studied at San Francisco State University and moved to New York and went to Culinary Institute of America, where I was classically trained. I got a bachelor’s in restaurant management,” he shared. 

The reason that brought him to Dubai was an invitation of his chef friend, who used to work in Dubai for quite some time until he enjoyed his stay pursuing his lovely restaurant in the New York of Asia. 

“I went to Dubai, and I have been here now for six years. My first project here was to open a Peruvian restaurant; I am extremely ambitious in all my endeavors; I always want to have a beautiful restaurant,” he said. 

One day, a businessman invited him to be the restaurant’s chef, and that was also the time he tried and decided to join Slab.

 “When I came in the restaurant, I changed all the concepts, and currently, we are on our third year and still thriving,” Chef Omar told Dubai Vibes Magazine. 

Chef Omar will always say he loves Dubai for three primary reasons: First, he loves the weather. Second, he described the city as the melting point of different nationalities worldwide. Lastly, the standard of living in Dubai is boundless. 

Starting Slab Restaurant

According to Chef Omar, Slab started in 2018 as a sandwich laboratory. But he conceptualized and elevated it into a restaurant. His main goal as a chef is to offer his customers a menu that tastes good and seasonal. 

“I believe that when you cook food in season, that will taste better, and that makes you a better chef,” he said. 

He also added that when an individual is motivated and driven, a person can create a vast difference. And for him, seasonal cooking is the best thing to do. His philosophy excites him every day because, in all seasons, he can offer a different bounty. 

He also revealed what it is like for him when his food isn’t to his taste sometimes: “As a chef from a different culture, cooking food at the same quality is a struggle for him. Sometimes food quality has to be sacrificed to meet the same standards.”

Chef’s wisdom

“My plan after Dubai is to stay in Dubai and expand the brand business in fried chicken and sandwiches and of course to grow up Slab,” he said. The restaurant is still planning to expand the shop into significant cities in the region. 

Lastly, he advises his fellow dreamers to be patient and passionate about what they want to do. Developing oneself is part of the process because nothing happens overnight. 

Did you enjoy reading the story? 

This story has been featured in the 11th issue of Dubai Vibes Magazine. To get a copy, you may contact Ms. Elaine “Bella” Marbella at +971503196856. If you have an inspiring story or know someone with one, please send an email to us at

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