dining celebrity chefs Chef's Corner: Jolbi Huacho
Chef's Corner: Jolbi Huacho
Updated on 14 July 2022

A restaurant is made great with the help of its skilful chefs, and although it requires a team to be successful, with the exceptional leadership from the Head Chef, the work is able to go on seamlessly, creating an amazing experience for diners. 

Chef Jolbi Huacho has been in the culinary industry since 2010 and has cooked at some of the most highly renowned restaurants in South America, Asia, Africa and currently the Middle East.

With prior experience from desserts to scrumptious Latin American dishes, Chef Jolbi Huacho is currently the Head Chef at CLAY, Food Fund International's award-winning Nikkei restaurant at Bluewaters Island in Dubai, and before that at its sister restaurant in Bahrain.

How did you get started in the food industry?

In 2012, I started my path in the kitchen at 22 years old in Perú as a Sushi Chef Assistant at a Peruvian-Japanese Nikkei restaurant in Lima. While working, I was also enrolled at the Le Cordon Bleu Perú, a culinary school, studying Gastronomy and Culinary Arts. Originally, at the start of my career, my goal was to develop into becoming an Itamae, a Sushi Chef but I was lucky enough to explore my own potential and become the Nikkei Head Chef I am today.

What is your earliest cooking memory?

My earliest memory of cooking was as a young boy, aged around 6 or 7 years old. I was taught by my family members to make some core base dressings for a variety of traditional dishes in Peru. I was taught to prepare the base dressings in the hot kitchen, over low heat and it was simmered for long hours to ensure that all of the flavours infuse well.

What is your favourite dish from your country?

My favourite dish is definitely cebiche, it is considered a national treasure back home in Peru and we even have a special holiday for it celebrated every year on 28 June. I love it because of the freshness of the fish, the different kinds of flavours from the peppers and the perfect tang from the mix of citrus.

What is the one go-to and easy snack you love making for midnight cravings?

Although I am a professional chef, I do not usually prepare things for myself at night so a good cup of coffee is more than enough but sometimes I would treat myself to a light sandwich, similar to the Katsu Sando we serve at Clay!

What is the one raw ingredient you cannot cook without from your country?

We have a rich food culture in my country, it has influences from Spanish, Asian, Incan and other European cuisines, so we use a lot of different ingredients from Aji peppers, Andean potatoes, miso, soy, and even wasabi paired with citrus. Peruvians have a lot of respect for the product but it heavily depends on the dish as it varies so I have always been able to utilise the ingredients I have on hand to make a dish work.

What is the best dish to try at the restaurant?

Well, in Clay, we specialise in Nikkei cuisine, the fusion of cultures from Peru and Japan, born out of the Japanese diaspora hundreds of years back. Due to this, we have a variety of unique dishes that perfectly reflect this mix but the best dish is definitely the Cebiche Platter, which is just an explosion of flavour with a selection of our signature fresh cebiches garnished with crackers and sweet potatoes and served beautifully on an iced platter. 

Chef Jolbi Huacho

Head Chef

CLAY Dubai


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