Making strides in the male-dominated culinary industry, chef Neha Mishra propelled Kinoya, her izakaya-style restaurant in Dubai, to clinch the Michelin Bib Gourmand and a spot on Middle East & North Africa’s 50 Best Restaurants list. Travel+Leisure India & South Asia gets an insight into her passion that resonates so well on every plate.
Editor-in-chief: Aindrila Mitra
Produced by: Ishika Laul and Bayar Jain
Breaking barriers comes easily to Chef Neha Mishra. A self-taught chef who scaled up her supper club to transform into a restaurant–called Kinoya, located on Sheikh Zayed Road, Dubai–worthy of a Michelin Bib Gourmand and spot number seven on Middle East & South Africa’s 50 Best Restaurants list, this path-breaking personality is a force to reckon with. At Kinoya, this Indian-born reigning ramen royalty dishes out Japanese flavours with ease. After all, for Chef Neha Mishra, purity, perfection, and precision is the key to success.
No wonder, then, this Dubai-based restaurant comes complete with segregated dining spaces–a ramen counter, dedicated chef’s table, two private rooms, an open seating, and a bar — that add to the authentic izakaya vibes. Everyday Japanese flavours such as donabe, onsen tamago, dashi, and omurice are elevated to luxe levels, seamlessly tying in with the experiential narrative that Chef Neha Mishra and her team recreate so well.
The journey towards achieving this excellence, however, has not been an easy one — be it shifting gears to embrace Japanese flavours, despite an Indian upbringing; taking the plunge to set up a restaurant, even without any professional training in the culinary arts; making strides in an otherwise male-dominated industry; or simply busting myths about these Asian flavours, one strand at a time.
In a conversation with Chef Neha Mishra, the digital cover star talks about breaking these barriers, misconceptions, and more.
Excerpts from the interview with Chef Neha Mishra: