Uncovering the Spirit of Ramadan with Chef Younis at The Diplomat Radisson Blu Hotel, Residence and Spa

We sat down with Chef Younis Ramadhan, the hands behind the delectable Ramadan offerings at The Diplomat Radisson Blu, Hotel, Residence and Spa. In this insightful interview, Chef Younis takes us on a flavourful exploration of Ramadan traditions and the culinary delights that await guests this year. From cherished customs that strengthen bonds to favourite dishes that symbolize Ramadan, Chef Younis gives us a glimpse into the unforgettable Ramadan experience his team has curated for guests at the hotel.

In your opinion, what makes the Ramadan dining experience at your hotel stand out compared to other establishments?

At The Diplomat Radisson Blu Hotel, Residence and Spa, we strive to create a unique and memorable Ramadan dining experience for our guests. The factors that make our hotel stand out compared to other establishments are authenticity as we focus on providing an authentic Ramadan dining experience and a variety of options as we understand that our guests have diverse preferences and dietary requirements. To cater to everyone’s needs, we offer a wide range of options, including vegetarian and vegan dishes, gluten-free choices, and a variety of meat and seafood selections. This ensures that every guest can find something they enjoy during their Ramadan dining experience in a warm and inviting ambience that reflects the spirit of Ramadan. 

Our dining area is beautifully decorated with traditional elements, creating an atmosphere that embraces the cultural significance of the occasion. Our highly trained and attentive staff members are dedicated to providing exceptional service throughout the Ramadan dining experience. When guests arrive, they are greeted with warmth and hospitality, ensuring that their needs are met promptly and efficiently. To make the dining experience even more special, we offer exclusive Ramadan promotions and packages for private events. These may include special menus, and live cooking stations. These unique offerings add an extra touch of excitement and create lasting memories for our guests. Overall, We aim to provide a truly exceptional and unforgettable Ramadan dining experience for our valued guests.

What signature dishes or specialties can guests look forward to during Ramadan at your hotel? 

During Ramadan, our guests can look forward to a range of signature dishes and specialties starting from Arabic Mezze Platter, our Lamb Ouzi features slow-roasted lamb served with fragrant rice, nuts, and aromatic spices. It is a hearty and flavourful specialty that is highly anticipated during Ramadan. We offer refreshing and traditional Ramadan drinks and the most famous Kunafa, a delightful way to end a Ramadan meal.

How do you and your culinary team stay inspired and motivated throughout the month-long celebration of Ramadan?

Throughout Ramadan, staying inspired and motivated is essential for me and my culinary team at The Diplomat Radisson Blu Hotel, Residence and Spa. We maintain our enthusiasm and creativity during this special time by embracing the spirit of Ramadan and by understanding and appreciating its cultural and religious significance. This helps us connect with the traditions and values associated with the holy month, inspiring us to create exceptional culinary experiences. 

We continuously explore and study traditional Middle Eastern cuisine, its history, and its unique flavours. This deepens our understanding of regional dishes, ingredients, and cooking techniques, allowing us to incorporate authentic elements into our menus and stay inspired. Interacting with our guests during Ramadan is a valuable source of inspiration. We actively seek feedback, listen to their preferences, and understand their expectations. This helps us create menus and experiences that resonate with their desires,

Personally speaking, what are some of your favourite Ramadan traditions? 

Allocating time for family members, and coming together as a family to break the fast (Iftar) is a cherished tradition. Gathering around the table, offering prayers together, and sharing a meal strengthens familial bonds and creates a sense of togetherness. Many families make it a tradition to attend prayers at the mosque together. Praying side by side and listening to the beautiful recitation of the Quran fosters a sense of spirituality and unity. Participating in community iftars with extended family, friends, and neighbours is a tradition that fosters a sense of community and social connection. Coming together to break the fast and share meals strengthens bonds beyond the immediate family. These traditions centered around prayers and family gatherings during Ramadan create a nurturing and spiritually fulfilling environment, fostering unity, and deepening the connection with loved ones and faith.

What is the one dish/dessert that symbolizes Ramadan for you and why? 

One of the dishes that holds significant symbolism and is often associated with Ramadan is “Harees” or “Harissa.” Harees is a traditional Middle Eastern and South Asian dish made from a mixture of meat (usually chicken or lamb) and wheat or barley. It is slow-cooked until the grains and meat blend together into a porridge-like consistency. Harees is deeply rooted in Ramadan traditions because it has historical and cultural significance.