DUBAI EXPAT STORIES. Chef Jesús: The storyteller speaks

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“I have been involved in the food industry since I was a kid, thanks to my father’s business. To be honest I tried to be a football player, but in the end I wasn’t so good,” Chef Jesús Gibaja Pérez, who hails from Mexico City, tells Dubai Vibes Magazine.

“I chose the culinary arts because of my grandmother’s influence. When I was a child, I would spend a lot of time watching her cook, and she was a great storyteller; she’s tell stories about the transformations of her ingredientes. 

“She was always talking about stories of her trips with my grandfather and that expanded my imagination. She talked about flavors, smells and experiences. Thanks to her, I found a place in the kitchen and grew to be a storyteller through the ingredients I discovered,” Chef Jesús said.

Chef Jesús, who has been in Dubai for just the past few months, have worked in San Sebastian, Spain; Philadelphia, USA; Buenos Aires, Argentina; and Osorno, Chile. 

He went to culinary school at Colegio Superior de Gastronomia and the Centro Culinario Ambrosia in Mexico.

“After finishing college, I had the opportunity to travel to the north of Spain and made a professional stage in Arzak, San Sebastián Spain (3 Michelin stars restaurant) for two seasons and then I stayed working as chef de partie. 

“Then I traveled to the east coast in the US, where I worked in the first six months as chef de partie in Park Hyatt Philadelphia and then I became sous chef in the XIX century restaurant of the same venue.

“After that, I returned to México. Suddenly, my journey changed 360 degrees when I was invited for the first time to be involved in cooking TV shows. I have made different cooking TV shows, but the most successful was The Kitchen of the Magic towns that allowed me to travel for more than six years all over México cooking and showing the greatness of Mexican gastronomy,” said Chef Jesús. 

He has the record for the most content hours in a cooking TV show in Spanish in the world.  “A member of the Academie Culinaire de France invited to be part of the Mexican Gastronomy Council in 2015. I was the Executive chef for Cantina La Piedra in the Polanco neighborhood in México city. I’ve also been the Executive chef at Mia Tulum and now here in Dubai,” he said.

Looking back, Chef Jesús said he has learned life lessons. “If you lose the passion for what you do, then it isn’t worth it. And also the results are never going to be the same. Be humble, be open to learning, break patrons, cook with love, be disciplined and force yourself to go further. Look for challenges.

“Cooking is an expression and one of the strongest chains for human beings. Through the food and table, a lot of different things happens like business, love, change of moods, reconciliations, nutrition, proposals, happiness, calm, joy and so on.  

“A dish should be so important to allow people to be seated at the table and share and shouldn’t be ever more important than human relationships created through the food.” 

The seasoned chef said cooking is a discipline based on science and oriented to create art because as human, “we don’t only cook to satisfy hunger but to satisfy our senses in different ways.”

When he is not busy, Chef Jesús tries to find time with the guitar and some sports like tennis and football.

Catch him at Seva Table along Jumeirah Beach Road, where he delights customers with his creations.

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