Oliver Ephgrave Feb 4th 2018

Manthiramoorthy Maharajan, chef at Carluccio’s in Terminal 3, lifts the lid on casual dining – Italian style

You’ve been a chef for 15 years. When did you develop your passion for Italian cuisine?
In 2011, I worked in Chennai, India in a restaurant called Toscana. There was a chef who was really passionate about Italian food and I gained detailed knowledge from him.

What appeals to you about Italian cuisine?
The variety. There’s something for everyone.  From kids to elders, there is always an option – pizzas, pastas, desserts, antipasti…Also, Italian food is delicious – it’s one of the best cuisines in the world.

What are your favourite dishes on the menu at Carluccio’s?
There are so many, from starters to desserts. There is a delicious salmon and fettuccine pasta with cheese, cream, some vegetables and dill leaves. Dessert wise, I would say tiramisu. It’s a classic.

What do you enjoy most about your job?
Busy times! I love it when customers ask for their food and then it gets busier and people say, ‘Chef, is the food ready now?’ I love to work under pressure. When people come in and my food goes to the customer, I’m happy.

What do you enjoy most about working in the airport?
I see lots of smiling faces. You can see people are happy because they’re going on holiday. We give a lot of priority to Carluccio’s in Dubai International because we particularly value the customers.

Is that because there are lots of international travellers that know what to expect from Italian food?
Yes. People will come and look for an exact dish. Others don’t know what they want but there is a lot of choice.

Lastly, why should travellers dine at Carluccio’s DXB before their flight?
We serve a lot of light food that’s also healthy. There’s not a lot of fat or oil in our sandwiches and we use simple breads and simple fillings. This is good food for travellers because it’s not heavy.

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