Chef Mansour Memarian is recorded in history books as the first Iranian to head a Michelin-starred restaurant, a feat he achieved in 2006 at Jagdhof Glashütte — just eight months after taking over as head chef. His second came at Pavillon in Innsbruck, Austria.
In a career spanning 22 years, Memarian has built on stints at some of the most prestigious hotels and dining establishments in Europe with executive positions at luxury brands in the UAE, including chef de cuisine at the Burj Al Arab’s signature restaurant, Al Mahara.
He now heads all dining operations at Palazzo Versace Dubai as the director of culinary and Food & Beverage. EDGAR steps into the kitchen with him.
What’s your earliest food memory?
The earliest memories are from my childhood. I was maybe four or five years old and every day around five o’clock I was in front of the TV to watch cartoons. My mum would prepare snacks for me — cheese bites, fruits, nuts. Those moments are the most vivid memories related to food.
How did you enter the industry?
I have always dreamed of becoming a chef, and I had to work hard to accomplish it. Back then I was living in Germany and it was difficult to secure a job as a chef at a well-established restaurant. I started as a server, and learned everything possible — from operations and service to stewarding. Then I replaced someone in the kitchen, and everything else is now history.
Professional kitchens are renowned as stressful environments. How do you handle the pressure?
I spent 15 years of my career only in Michelin-starred restaurants, and indeed, an environment like this can be stressful. It’s a harsh world but at the same time a most beautiful one. It allows you to grow and learn, and only the strongest survive in this field.