• Culinary art in Doha: interview with Jérémy Cheminade

    Jérémy Cheminade is hailing from Lyon, his culinary journey began at a young age when he started helping at the restaurant where his father worked. He was soon enamoured with the creative role of Chef. Gaining his cooking diploma, Jérémy set his ambitions high, working with 3 Michelin-starred chef Gerald Passedat at Hôtel Restaurant Le Petit Nice in Marseille. Jérémy’s career path continued via Courchevel, Paris and Monaco where he refined his flair for flavours of the French Riviera. Jiwan is Jérémy’s first international role where he started as Head Chef from 2019-2021. Before joining the Jiwan team, he continued his training alongside Pierre Gagnaire, took part in renowned culinary competitions where he gained recognition and awards and worked at the legendary L’Auberge du Pont de Collonges. Today, as Alain Ducasse Operations Executive Chef to Doha, Jérémy continues creating dishes in IDAM by Alain Ducasse that are loved by locals and treasured by visitors to Qatar.

    What are your signature dishes in IDAM?

    All our dishes are signature dishes. Each season, we work with new products and try to make each dish unique. I don’t like the term “signature dishes” because it denotes routine. I question myself every day.  When we remove dishes from our seasonal menu, it means they have accomplished a successful run.  This allows me and above all, allows our teams to be the best on a daily basis. We challenge ourselves every day to craft menu and dishes that elevate our guests’ dining experience.
    Our delectable dishes are highlighted with our dessert to complete the dining experience. IDAM chocolate is an emblematic dessert due to its design representing the eye of MIA. But it is also a red thread in the timeless chocolate desserts of Alain Ducasse. IDAM chocolate dessert takes different colours and flavours depending on the season you will taste it. The chocolate sheet is like a mirror that blends into the decor of Philippe Starck and other crystal glasses unearthed by Her Excellency Sheikha Al Mayassa Al Thani, Chairperson of Qatar Museums. Its elegant gold leaf allows it to have this little jewelry side that you hardly dare to touch.
    A little advice, ask Mathieu Courtin, the restaurant manager, to serve you a lightly spiced mocktail and by closing your eyes you will have the impression of drinking a wonderful wine.

    How does Mediterranean cuisine influence the Qatari food?

    Mediterranean cuisine is the basis of Alain Ducasse’s cuisine. We bring Middle Eastern accents and notes from the Eastern Mediterranean. We explore the Qatari gastronomic culture with its products and spices.
    Even if it remains Mediterranean, it’s a different cuisine from that which we know from the south of France, Monaco or Italy. The biggest difference is the use of spices which is common to Qatari people.  For example, an essential element in Mediterranean cuisine is the lemon. I like to replace it in IDAM with black loomi which is very famous in the Middle East.

    You operate in one of the most prominent art museums in the GCC region. How does art affect your work?

    Cooking, like art, allows me to express a feeling, a singularity of the spirit that pleases me and speaks to me. I work in one of the most beautiful museums in the world, which inspires me to compose my dishes as a painter would create his canvas. When I create a dish, I obviously think about making it good! But I also think about wanting to elevate the museum visitors’ experience and to give emotions to our guests through our dishes, both tastefully and aesthetically.

    Which are your most significant inspirations when you create a new dish?

    I like to challenge my inventiveness by drawing inspiration not only from art but also from other cultures through my encounters that shake up the codes of what I have learned. Daring to be fancy while mastering my technique, this is what could sum up my vision when I create a dish.
    I often say that things happen in the hands of the cook and the spoon in his hand. Nothing is explained, everything is experienced. Nature is an inexhaustible source of inspiration, it’s the one who dictates the rhythm in the kitchen.

    Which was the kindest compliment you have ever gotten from the guests of IDAM so far? Why is this feedback important to you?

    IDAM has been compared to the greatest French tables. The fact of being compared to the best French tables allows us to believe in our daily work and gives us the hope of one day being renowned in the greatest gastronomic guides.

    PR photo: Pierre Monetta