Culinary Riot

Marcus Riot, Executive Chef of Morimoto Doha, shares how diverse experiences shape his approach to cooking and the exclusive concepts he brings to life.

From bistros and gastropubs in the UK to luxurious Japanese dining in Qatar – your journey has been quite remarkable! How has this experience shaped your approach to cooking and what commonalities do you see between these diverse culinary environments?
From the beginning of my career, quality, sustainability and supplier relationships have been the fundamentals of running a successful restaurant. This is even more important in Qatar where sourcing ingredients can sometimes be tricky, however I love a challenge. Personally, working within different cuisines has shown me that most are alike and the important factor is to not overcomplicate a dish, to let the ingredients speak for themselves and to use my skills to showcase the variation of execution.

What’s the single most important factor you prioritise when selecting ingredients, and how do you balance staying true to traditional Japanese culinary techniques while infusing your own creativity?
The most important factor of running a restaurant is producing quality dishes at effective prices. Whether I’m creating a dish using Wagyu, tuna or local fish and vegetables, the quality of ingredients must be consistent. A fantastic aspect about Japanese cuisine is the wide variety of produce and cooking techniques. Infusing my creativity becomes effortless as I marry the flavour combinations from traditional dishes and plate them using my creative flair. I do, however, go outside the box sometimes, like creating Wasabi Ice Cream!

How did you come up with the exclusive 12 Chairs Caviar Bar concept? What was the inspiration behind it?
The inspiration behind 12 Chairs was to offer our guests at Mondrian a truly unique experience, which was never done before in Qatar – to push the boundaries of a bar experience and to showcase the variety of caviar we carry. Once I put together my team, we constantly pushed ourselves to innovate and offer not just a meal, but a conversation of what food provides for us and how it can transport us to another country or bring back nostalgic memories. 12 Chairs is truly a unique concept.

Having curated exclusive menus for Morimoto over the years, what would you say is your best to date and what keeps your loyal customers coming back for more?
Throughout my time in Morimoto, I have created a number of omakase menus, drawing inspiration from Chef Morimoto and incorporating my plating style and cooking techniques. We now regularly have omakase events in which we showcase a refined tailored dining experience. This ensures that we keep things interesting and challenges the team to learn new ways of service. My monkfish dish came from one of these omakase events and is now on the menu at Morimoto. ✤