One of Bahrain's leading Executive Chefs, Michael Sang-Kyu, gave me some insights into his creativity, his vision and his approach. Moving to Bahrain 20 years ago, Chef Michael has been a catalyst in the transformation of Bahrain's culinary scene.
If you weren’t a Chef what would you do? Fashion designer, Firefighter, Helicopter Pilot
Favourite ingredient at the moment? Korean Gochugaru (chili powder)
Last things you ate (honestly!)? Yukgaejang (Korean spicy beef soup), julienned wagyu beef, snow peas, sugar snaps, and shitake mushrooms in spicy beef stock. Black steam rice & homemade vegan kimchee
Favourite place to eat in Bahrain (not your own)? I used to love Saffron which is sadly now closed. It wasn’t just the food, it offered lot more for me, the experience, area & it was homey, sometimes food doesn’t have to be great. I also love to visit Nirvana (Ritz-Carlton, Bahrain) I don't want to sound pretentious but the flavors are clean.
When did you start cooking? I started experimenting with can foods when I was 10-11 years old, Chef Boyardee and Campbell soup
Do you have any cooking or eating out advice for my readers? Cook with fun, and try to balance in flavours. Don't be afraid to experiment, failing is succeeding
Last thing you cooked at home? Nada (I work 7 days a week)
Last things you ordered on Talabat? Nada
What do you see trending in the food world over the next year? Fun dining (from fine dining). Quality food without the price
What is your earliest memory of food? 3-4 years old in Korea, going to a market, mom's astonished that I remember so many places that we've visited as a young child (maybe it was meant to be?)
What has been your most proud achievement? Coming to Bahrain
What do you say to people who want to become chefs? Don't look at it as a job, you must have a deep passion for cooking, be humble, open-minded, and travel
What one surprising thing can you tell me about yourself? I'm funny
Do you collect anything? Skateboards, paintings, comic books, anything that gives me joy
Where has Bahrain’s food scene come from when you moved here? OMG, there was 3 Japanese restaurant when I arrived in 2002 and now, must be over 20 different variations of Japanese cuisine and many other ethnic restaurants
What would you like to see in the F+B industry in Bahrain? More hygiene standards
If someone has not been to Meisei before, what 3 dishes do you recommend they try?
Galbi Gim (mom’s recipe) black Angus beef short ribs that have been braised 24hrs
Jap Tang Chilean Seabass with sauteed sesame oil assorted seafood
Goat cheesecake with Dulce de leche and cherry puree and