Chef Talk: Jumeirah Himalayas Hotel Shanghai’s Ayad Hassan

Although he’s often described by his colleagues as a man of few words, Lebanese Chef Ayad Hassan finds himself gushing about his family’s influence on his decision to enter the food industry, in particular his mother’s. “As a child in Lebanon, I would always help my mother make food. My brothers and I all did. It’s not a surprise that we all eventually became chefs (and for royalty to boot: my younger brother is a chef for the royal family in Morocco; my older brother and I worked for the Al Nahyan Palace in Dubai). It all just worked out for us due to our penchant for travelling and our love of food.”

His extensive resume is impressive (to say the least). Hassan began his trade with three years working in Lebanon as a Chef De Partie before moving on to being a Sous Chef; one year in the United Arab Emirates where he served as the Arabic Chef of the Grand Hyatt; four years in Valencia, Spain where he was involved in opening a new restaurant called the Wonderland Restaurant (specialising in Spanish fine dining), and one year again working in the UAE. His latest venture, expanding his career to Shanghai, has brought him to the Jumeirah Himalayas Hotel, where he serves as the new Middle Eastern Chef responsible for all Arabic dining, including the Marhaba Weekend buffet in The Jumeirah Himalayas Hotel Shanghai's Arte Café, served every Friday and Saturday night.

So far, Hassan has received many compliments on his dishes. “The nicest compliment I’ve received to date is that my guests felt an authentic Lebanese presence through the food. It was honour to hear that.”

His decision to live and work in Shanghai was a natural progression on his path to one day becoming an Executive Chef. “Every experience is a valuable one and I thrive in learning more about different cultures,” he says. And so on his days off, he makes it a priority to go out and meet new people, explaining that he thinks, “cultivating strong relationships is essential” to understanding more about his trade.

Still, he does confess to having a weakness for watching comedy movies and TV programmes such as Mr Bean when he’s not in the kitchen.

Jumeirah Himalayas Hotel Shanghai. 1108 Meihua Lu, near Fangdian Lu. Tel: 3858 0999. Web:


Ayad Hassan’s Tabouleh 

Serves four


3 cups of finely chopped flat leaf parsley
1/2 cup of finely chopped mint
4 or 5 finely chopped spring onions
4 medium-sized tomatoes chopped into small cubes
100g of fine burghul
1/2 cup lemon juice
4 tbsp olive oil
Salt and pepper


1. Soak the burghul in cold water for half an hour. Note: When using fresh vegetables and herbs, make sure that they are washed thoroughly and then drained.
2. Drain.
3. Mix along with all the remaining ingredients, taste and adjust the seasoning if needed.
4. Serve with lettuce leaves.

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