Culinary Mastery Unleashed: Chef Steven Nguyen Reigns at Ling Ling Dubai, Atlantis The Royal.

Courtesy of Ling Ling
Courtesy of Ling Ling

Perched gracefully on the 23rd floor of Atlantis The Royal in Dubai, Ling Ling Dubai stands out as the city’s unrivaled culinary gem. With its breathtaking setting, overlooking the Palm, and Dubai’s skyline, this new restaurant promises an unforgettable dining experience for tourists and locals alike. Beyond mere gastronomy, Ling Ling Dubai transcends into a vibrant destination lounge, offering guests a seamless fusion of flavors, sights, and sounds. The journey begins as we arrive in the exceptional Atlantis The Royal: a crown jewel hotel where extraordinary dining and entertainment destination promise an experience beyond compare.

Courtesy of Ling Ling Dubai – Terrace

“Ling Ling” is a concept created by the Hakkasan Group, a renowned hospitality company. It is a stylish and high-end brand that combines elements of dining, lounging, and nightlife entertainment. Heading the kitchen, Steven Nguyen, is a talented maestro of flavors.

Courtesy of Ling Ling Dubai – Chef Steven Nguyen

With a rich tapestry of expertise cultivated across gastronomic capitals from Canada to Hong Kong, he stands at the helm of what promises to be Dubai’s most sizzling nightlife destination. We got to ask him a few questions.

Steven, I saw that you were working in marketing before. What lead you to the world of Cooking? 

After financial crisis 2008, I lost my corporate job marketing and advertising. I took that as a sign to pursue something that I had always truly loved and jumped started my culinary career by attending George Brown Culinary Arts program in Toronto. Fueled by a newfound purpose, I gained experienced in various luxury restaurants before co-founding Ottos Bierhalle and Ottos Berlin Doner in Toronto. I then moved across the world to Hong Kong, where he assumed the position of Chef de Cuisine at Chom Chom, one of Hong Kong’s most popular Vietnamese restaurants and part of the prestigious Black Sheep Restaurant group. Quickly promoted to Operations Chef, I expanded my responsibilities and leadership capacities to manage the culinary operation of various restaurants under the Black Sheep group.

Tell us more about your journey to becoming a Chef.  

My love for cooking, I believe, stems from a very young age when I used to watch cooking shows at home. One show, in particular, stands out vividly in my memory, and that was “Wok with Yan” from the early 80s. Witnessing the magic of food being prepared right in front of me captivated my imagination, and it fueled a strong desire within me to recreate those culinary wonders myself.

It sounds like those cooking shows left a lasting impression on you. Did your family play a role in nurturing your passion for cooking as well?

Absolutely! I grew up in a vibrant and large extended family. On my mother’s side alone, she had eight siblings, so you can imagine the size of our gatherings. Every Saturday, when I was young, we used to have these wonderful family get-togethers, and the highlight was always sharing a hearty meal together. Those moments created a special bond, and as I grew older, I started to contribute to these gatherings by taking charge of the cooking. Eventually, I became the one responsible for preparing the meals on every Christmas and Thanksgiving, which further deepened my love for cooking and the joy of sharing delicious food with loved ones.

Courtesy of Ling Ling Dubai – Sambal Steamed Turbot

What do you think makes Ling Ling special?

I don’t want to sound too cliché but, I really do think it’s the people and the team we were able to cobble together. Many of us are still here since the beginning of pre-opening and we’ve been through a lot together. Yes the venue is absolutely stunning and the view is amazing, and I humbly hope that people enjoy the food we’ve created, but all that would be for nothing if we didn’t’ have the right people working so hard for our guest everyday. We are always so happy to see the names of our team being highlighted in great online reviews, and we try to celebrate that let them know they are valued.

Would you say that cooking is more of an art or is it more science?

I would say yes, there are elements of art and science, but I prefer to see it asa  craft and vocation. We’re crafts people in the end working a physical job with very speicalzed skill honed after hour and horus of practice. I can only speak for my self and of my experiences, as I’m neither a scientist or an artist. 

Courtesy of Ling Ling Dubai – Australian Lobster Pad Thai

What is your advice for young chefs who want to make cooking their career?

Make sure you’re doing for the right reasons. Before you even thinking about going to culinary school, I would say go work one day in a kitchen to under stand the reality of the work. You will have to sacrifice a lot of your time, as you’ll be working when others are having fun. 

What do you think of the culinary scene in the Middle East region?

I would love to see more home grown operations and more unique concepts that especially speak to the Dubai experience out side of the glitz and glam. I think there’s a lot of opportunity for more interesting smaller venues that tell a specific or unique story. 

Have you been enjoying your time in Dubai?

I’ve been getting too comfortable here actually, haha. And I’m afraid whenever I leave I would have become too spoiled to live anywhere else. It has been amazing and I’ve meet and worked with some really fabulous people. But I still feel like I’ve only scratched the surface of what Dubai really has to offer.

Located in Atlantis The Royal, wait no more and try Ling Ling Dubai. Visit atlantis.com for more information.

Franco-Lebanese luxury industry enthusiast, Aya Mechelany, writes features across all editorial pillars of KHAMSA. With the goal of finding contemporary & cool subjects from her own personal experience, as well as her passions and inspirations, Aya deep dives into various subjects to inspire and excite like-minded readers.
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