Meet the Pinoy chef who cooked lunch for Sheikh Hamdan

John Buenaventura is the Filipino chef behind the success of Cuisinero Uno, the restaurant where the Crown Prince of Dubai, His Highness Sheikh Hamdan bin Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum had lunch last week.

But before he established his restaurant at Steigenberger Hotel and shared a group selfie with Sheikh Hamdan, he also had his humble beginnings in the Philippines where his passion for cooking developed.

At the young age of 17, he attended the Center for Culinary Arts in Manila and took culinary studies.

After studying for two years, Buenaventura then flew to Dubai in 2007 and landed jobs in different hotels.

“I worked at different hotels, landing in Dubai in 2007, working as a commis and part of the pre-opening team at the InterContinental Dubai Festival City. From there, I worked at Four Seasons Resort in the Maldives, Fire & Ice Steakhouse in Raffles Dubai, Monte Carlo Beach Club in Abu Dhabi, Fairmont The Palm in Dubai, and at Atlantis The Palm,” he said in an interview with TimeOut Dubai.

But his last job in a hotel, Buenaventura was given an entrepreneurial opportunity by an investment company to open up his own restaurant.

He then resigned from his job and signed all necessary contracts to start his business. However, it was not all smooth sailing for him when he found out that the capital wasn’t available anymore for his enterprise.

“I was stuck with a contract with the owners of the building and the hotel operators, with zero money in the company bank account,” he told Entrepreneur Middle East.

But Buenaventura did not give up on his dream and decided to crowdfund capital from people around him.

Through his efforts and the financial support that he got from family, friends, and other people, he was able to raise a staggering amount of almost Dh 8-9 million and, in the mid-2017, he was able to finally launch Cuisinero Uno.

“They have been really backing [me] up since day one, and I really want to reiterate this, because without them, I would have not been able to open this restaurant and put up this place,” Buenaventura said of the people who helped him.

He also credited the dedicated and efficient team who made big contributions to bring Cuisinero Uno to where it is now.

Because of his hard work, Buenaventura was also recognized as TimeOut Dubai’s Young Chef of the Year in 2015, and was also nominated for The Filipino Times Hospitality Professional of the Year Award in 2017.


His restaurant is also making it big in the food industry that even well-known chefs in Dubai and around the world have paid a visit.

Buenaventura’s restaurant takes pride in their innovative tapas or Spanish snacks.

Related Articles

Back to top button