Markus Thesleff

06 Mar 2013

Founder of OKKU

While OKKU in Dubai continues to reel in the awards, the brains behind the Japanese brand is expanding internationally and showing his flair in many new ways.

Tell us about the medals you won in 2012.
OKKU won the titles of Best Fine Dining Restaurant 2012 (thank you Ahlan! for the third year in a row), and at the Caterer Middle East Awards 2012 we won Restaurant of the Year, Chef of the Year, Bar of the Year and Sommelier of the Year.

And what’s new?
We’ve expanded the OKKU brand with the new flagship for OKKU London in the prestigious St James district, finalised plans for OKKU Casablanca in Morocco and not forgetting ‘O’ by OKKU in Saudi. But there’s more. At the beginning of the year we opened RIVA – our beach club complex along the Shoreline of the Palm – and in the same complex Sophie’s Cafe, a concept focussing on natural and healthy whole foods from organic and local sources. Plus our new concept CLAW BBQ is just about to launch in Souk Al Bahar.

Sounds different.
It’ll be a first of its kind in the UAE – a Southern-style American barbeque, crab shack and grill with fun, mess and good times at a place that will have a mechanical bull as a centrepiece!

What’s your favourite dish in any of your restaurants or cafes?
I like to work very closely with each and every chef at our venues helping to develop the dishes, so it’s very hard for me to pick a favourite. I love them all.