Neil David Foster - Executive Chef
With over 25 years’ international culinary experience across Europe and the Middle East, award winning British Executive Chef Neil Foster oversees a portfolio of ten restaurants and bars and a team of 123 chefs at Jumeirah Zabeel Saray, the Palm based luxury resort in Dubai, where he joined in October 2012.
Chef Neil’s culinary journey began in 1989 as a Commis de Cuisine in a French restaurant in England. He spent the next 17 years moving up the ranks across a number of leading 5 Star operations, including Le Meridien Waldorf Hotel, Covent Garden and The Sheraton Park Lane Hotel, London, before being appointed as the Executive Chef at the pre-opening team of the Sheraton Fota Island Golf Resort & Spa, Ireland, in 2006.
He moved to the UAE in June 2011 where he joined the pre-opening team as executive sous chef at Jumeirah at Etihad Towers, the 5 Star culinary hotel and business towers in Abu Dhabi. Well known for his bold innovations and recreating the culinary scene, Chef Neil headed a team of 210 chefs across 12 award winning restaurants before joining the team at Jumeirah Zabeel Saray.
Musabbeh Al Kaabi - Executive Oriental Chef
Chef Musabbeh’s colourful culinary career started after serving seven years in the United Arab Emirates Army forces, where in 2001, he joined Jebel Ali International Hotels Golf Resort & Spa as Commis Chef, followed by Oasis Beach Hotel until 2005. In 2006, Chef Musabbeh joined the Jumeriah Group where he worked for three years at Jumeirah Beach Hotel.
In 2009, he became the Sous Chef De Cuisine at Dubai World Trade Center and then became the Head Chef in the Kempinski Hotel Mall of the Emirates. Chef Musabbeh then became a Concept Consultant Chef for the pre-opening of Shawati restaurant in Abu Dhabi, before moving to the Cassels hotel in Al Barsha where he was an Executive Chef.
Prior to joining Jumeirah Zabeel Saray in 2011, Chef Musabbeh was famous for his Ramadan cooking shows which were featured in both Kuwaiti Channel Al Rai TV “Sufra Khaleejeeya” and Sharjah TV “Cooking and More”. Musabbeh to this day still presents various TV shows and cooking demonstrations across the region including the UAE Culinary, and programs for Jumeirah in the USA.
Wolfgang Wagenleitner - Executive Pastry Chef
With an international background spanning the culinary scenes of Russia, Greece, Thailand, Qatar and Japan, Wolfgang Wagenleitner began his career in Vienna, Austria in 1985, where he has enjoyed working with various celebrities and members of royal families.
Prior to joining the team at Jumeirah Zabeel Saray, the Austrian national held the position of Executive Pastry Chef at the Sharq Village & Spa in Doha, Qatar, operated by Ritz Carlton. Before this, in 2010, Chef Wolfgang joined the pre-opening team of the largest multi complex resort in Europe, Costa Navarino, by Starwood, as Executive Pastry Chef.
With over 25 years’ of professional cooking and culinary management experience, Wolfgang holds a Master Certificate for Food Service Management from Cornell University in New York.
Fares Chahine - Chef De Cuisine, Al Nafoorah
Chef Fares Chahine possess over 25 years’ international culinary experience. A Lebanese national, he started his professional culinary career within hotels and resorts in 2001 in Egypt where he worked as Oriental Chef for the Pyramids Park, Cairo. From this, Chef Fares worked his way up through the culinary ranks from Oriental Chef at the Royal Bakery, to Chef De Cuisine at the Grand Hyatt, to Executive Chef at the Jaitta restaurant and finally Head Oriental Chef for the Hilton Luxor Resort and Spa in 2008.
Chef Fares then moved to the Maldives, to enhance his experience further where he worked as Chef De Cuisine for the Waldorf Astoria for one year where he then travelled back to Egypt and worked for the Conrad Hotel in 2009.
Prior to joining Jumeirah Zabeel Saray, Fares moved back to his homeland where he set up his own Lebanese takeaway sandwich bar in Beirut, Lebanon.
Aman Kumar - Chef De Cuisine, Amala
Indian Chef Aman Manoj Kumar joined Jumeirah Zabeel Saray as Chef De Cuisine in Amala, the resorts signature Indian restaurant after 17 years’ experience working across different international hotels. Chef Aman now manages a creative team of culinary professionals serving the finest Northern Indian cuisine in Dubai.
Chef Aman graduated from the Government Institute of Hotel Management in India in 1996 with a Diploma in Hotel Management. From this, he started his culinary career within hotels as a Commis Chef in India in both The Park Delhi and Hyatt Regency Hotel in Delhi.
In 2000, Chef Aman left India and spent eight years working for the Four Seasons Resort in the Maldives and Four Seasons Hotel in Singapore first as a Commis then Chef De Partie and finally as a Jr. Sous Chef. He is now creating the award winning cuisine at Amala where he has been since 2010.
Sushant Nipanikar - Chef De Cuisine, Imperium
Originally from India, Chef Sushant Nipanikar joined Jumeirah Group first in 2000 at Jumeriah Beach Hotel, and has since then moved to Jumeirah Zabeel Saray where he is now Chef de Cuisine for Imperium, the resorts signature French-brasserie demi buffet restaurant, where he drives a busy team serving up exquisite French-inspired and international dishes.
Chef Sushant’s culinary career started in India in 1995 where he worked as assistant cook at the Nanu Resort in Goa. Here, he worked his way up through to Head Cook gaining experience within the Royal Goan Beach Club and Nanutel before moving to Dubai in 2000 where he worked for nine years at Jumeirah Beach Hotel.
Prior to joining Jumeirah Zabeel Saray in 2011, Chef Sushant worked as Jr. Sous Chef as part of the pre-opening team for Al Forsan International Sports Resorts in Abu Dhabi, and Sous Chef for Le Meridien Mina Seyahi beach resort in Dubai.
Umit Cilit - Chef De Cuisine, Lalezar
Turkish Chef Umit Cilit, joined Jumeirah Zabeel Saray as Chef De Cuisine in Lalezar, the resorts signature Turkish restaurant after 20 years’ extensive culinary experience. He now leads Dubai’s first Anatolian restaurant where classic Turkish cuisine is captured in an ambience reminiscent of the Ottoman Empire. Chef Umit focuses on fusing a multitude of Turkish flavours within each dish to create eclectic, mouth-watering contemporary cuisine.
After graduating from the Mengen Anatolian Cookery Vocational School, Chef Umit, started his culinary journey as Commis-Demi Chef at the Divan Hotel in Istanbul. Since then, he has worked his way up within the kitchen working as Chef-de Partie for the opening teams of both the International Airport hotel and Radisson SAS Bosphorus Hotel in Istanbul. In 2007, Chef Umit moved to Antalya, where he worked for four years as Sous Chef across two hotels, before moving back to Istanbul as Head Chef for the American Hospital, Divan.
Prior to moving to the UAE and Jumeirah in 2014, Chef Umit worked in the Doubletree by Hilton as Senior Sous Chef.
Deniz Katranci - Chef De Cuisine, MusicHall
Turkish Chef Deniz Katranci first joined Jumeirah Zabeel Saray in 2011 and is now Chef de Cuisine for MusicHall, an extraordinary venue presenting a unique and innovative take on the ‘dinner and dance’ concept. Here, Chef Deniz creates exciting dishes for many large scale events and gala dinners, served within the amid the grand atmosphere of the theatre.
After graduating from Culinary School in Izmir, Turkey in 2000, Chef Deniz joined the Suzer hotel, Izmir, as a Comi Chef and then became Chef de Partie at the Sheraton Cesme hotel, Izmir, for two years.
In 2003, Chef Deniz moved to the Istanbul Doors restaurant group as Sous Chef where he stayed for three years perfecting his modern flare for Turkish cuisine. After an additional year at the Ritz Carlton, Istanbul, Deniz decided to move to Dubai bringing along his extensive experience for UAE diners to enjoy.
Pham Xuan Cuong - Chef De Cuisine, Vôi
Chef Pham joined Jumeirah Zabeel Saray in 2012 as Chef De Cuisine for the Vietnamese and French inspired restaurant – Vôi, where he and his creative team serve cuisine which vividly captures the beauty, romance and spirit of French colonial Southeast Asia of the 1920s.
Chef Pham began his culinary career in 1992 where he worked at The Boss Hotel in his home town in Hanoi, Vietnam, learning the basics of cooking and food preparation. Over the next decade, Chef Pham spent time in other bespoke Vietnamese hotels before moving to Singapore for a year to broaden his culinary experience.
In 2003, Chef Pham returned to Hanoi to join the pre-opening team of the Sheraton Hotel as a Banquet Chef de Partie for a year. Following this, he spent time consulting various restaurants as a Vietnamese Sous Chef with the pre-opening teams for Hilton Hanoi Opera Hotel and the Intercontinental Hanoi Westlake Hotel.
Since then, Chef Pham travelled across Vietnam, China and the UAE for various culinary experiences before his arrival at Jumeirah Zabeel Saray, where he has since then won several awards for his extraordinary food at Vôi.