Chef Silvena Rowe, born from a Turkish father and Bulgarian mother, lived 28 years of her life in London. Silvena now resides in Dubai and is running the Omnia brand. Silvena grew in a family with big appetites, where everyone cooked and the most beautiful soul foods, especially those on her father’s side-from his Ottoman heritage.
Silvena became a chef to the rich & famous and A-list stars. Throughout her career, Chef Silvena has cooked for many members of royal families as well. She was the food writer for the Guardian for four years. Silvena opened her restaurant Quince, in the fashionable May Fair hotel in Mayfair in London. She was also the consultant for Raika restaurant in the centre of Istanbul.
In 2013 Silvena was approached to consider possibilities in UAE, something that felt a natural transition when taking into consideration her Turkish heritage.
Chef Silvena’s vision is to continue developing the already well-loved and recognized Omnia brand, expand into the rest of the Gulf territories and establish a health-conscious way of eating for everyone in the region. Omnia brand has grown in less than two years to five locations in Dubai alone.The food is distinctive for its organic, clean, non-processed and very healthy ways. It is the food that we all love but happened to be healthy.
Photo Credit: http://www.hoteliermiddleeast.com/
Tell us about your personal experience of branching out here in the Middle East and the United Arab Emirates.
UAE and Dubai in particular are a home now….its where positivity lives and Omnia has become a strong and well loved and established brand in just 18 months time…no where else in the world this is possible; here are a lot of possibilities. I love that Al Hamdullilah, Omnia is offering an alternative to people with various eating preferences, with our delicious gluten free and sugar free ranges. We believe in ”you are what you eat, so we only cook and offer healthy & vibrant & fresh food that is energising, restorative, light and exciting .
Why did you decide to open here in the Middle East? Specifically, Dubai, Abu Dhabi, Lebanon, Qatar, or any other city in the MENA region.
Dubai is just the most energising city, I fell in love with Dubai right away. It’s a rich and colourful culinary playground, so it’s great that Omnia is part and contributes to this. Omnia has become a well known brand all over the Gulf and there is already demand for taking it out of UAE.
For those not familiar with Omnia , what region is your culinary style modeled after?
My cooking is deeply rooted in my Ottoman heritage with strong Eastern Mediterenean and Arabis influences, we make some of the most delicious modern & Light Emirati food.
What has been your impression of the local food scene over the years here in the Middle East?
I have been here around 2 1/2 years and the food scene has grown rapidly with all sorts of international cuisines, offering and that scene is evolving constantly …competition is good as it gives everyone a chance to try and find out what is the best out there, so I always welcome more choices… Omnia, however, stands very much alone in its quest to offer healthy & light & organic foods.
When you manage to find a little time to step away from work, what are some of your favorite spots to dine or socialize?
I eat mostly at all my Omnia restaurants, simply because I eat cleanly, but LPM with its garlic snails is a favourite, so there I indulge….desserts are never eaten out, as I am sugar and gluten free, also vegan in all desserts.
What is your favorite restaurant, besides your own?
LPM for the snails.
If you had not pursued a Chef career or the life of a rogue restaurateur, what do you think you would have been? Proffesional tennis player ( I would like to think so…)
What three ingredients you MUST have in your kitchen?
Honey, eggs, cheese
Are you launching any new projects in the near future that you’d like to share with us?
I am appearing as a guest judge at Top Chef, the first of its kind in Middle East, but more importanty I am writing a beautiful cook book on Emirati and Gulf cuisine.