In the vibrant culinary world, opportunities abound for talented chefs, especially in Singapore. However, some Singaporean chefs choose to establish their careers abroad, driven by personal aspirations and a thirst for recognition. One such chef is Chef Akmal Anuar, whose journey from Singapore to Dubai has been nothing short of remarkable.
Chef Akmal Anuar’s credentials would be the envy of many chefs in Singapore, with a World’s 50 Best Discovery award for his former restaurant 3 Fils in 2016 and a prestigious Michelin star for his internationally acclaimed grill restaurant 11 Woodfire in Dubai in 2022 and 2023. He also founded a thriving F&B consultancy firm, White Rice Co., overseeing multiple restaurants in the United Arab Emirates and New York.
Despite his accolades and successes, Chef Akmal Anuar remains relatively unknown in his homeland’s foodie community. He candidly admits to feeling underappreciated during his time in Singapore, even while working at the esteemed Iggy’s restaurant, which ranked among Asia’s and the world’s best.
The turning point came in 2010 when Akmal became a father and sought loftier career prospects. Job offers from around the world flooded in, but it was Dubai that captivated him. A visit to the Middle Eastern city offered a glimpse of the lavish lifestyle and extraordinary opportunities that awaited him.
Dubai proved to be the land of opportunity, and Chef Akmal Anuar’s career soared in his new home. He joined Richard Sandoval Hospitality as a chef collaborator at pan-Asian restaurant Zengo, eventually venturing out to establish his own successful ventures. His consultancy firm, White Rice Co., now manages an impressive portfolio of restaurants across different cuisines.
Among the highlights is the Michelin-starred 11 Woodfire, acclaimed for its premium grilled dishes and luxurious ambiance in a refurbished villa. From wagyu kebabs to sea bass in a hay-salted crust, each creation bears Akmal’s culinary expertise and passion.
While Dubai has provided Chef Akmal Anuar with remarkable opportunities, Singapore remains dear to his heart. He cherishes his connections with family and fond memories of his homeland. Akmal is content with his current home but remains open to future possibilities.
Chef Akmal Anuar’s culinary journey is an inspiring tale of perseverance, talent, and the pursuit of excellence. From Singapore to Dubai, he has carved a path to Michelin-starred success, leaving an indelible mark on the global culinary stage. As his culinary ventures continue to flourish, Akmal’s story serves as an inspiration to chefs worldwide.