Dubai chef Reif Othman and family receive UAE golden visa: 'The icing on the cake'

The culinary star behind Reif Japanese Kushiyaki has called the UAE home for 12 years

Dubai chef and restaurateur Reif Othman and his family are the latest residents to receive the UAE golden visa, for his service to the country's food industry.

Under the golden visa programme launched in 2019, recipients receive a renewable 10-year visa for the UAE.

Othman called the recognition “an absolute honour”. “Both myself and my family have called Dubai our home for the last 12 years, and along with our business expansion plans, we are committed to the UAE long-term, so the golden visa recognition is the icing on the cake,” he said.

“I have always been a workaholic who lives and breathes cooking. To champion a cuisine, one has to innovate constantly, something that requires dedication and hard work.”

Known for his unconventional approach to Far Eastern cuisine, Othman first arrived in Dubai as the executive chef at the award-winning restaurant Zuma and helmed the kitchens at high-end restaurants Play and Billionaire Mansion before opening his own restaurant Reif Japanese Kushiyaki in 2019.

He's also behind a number of pop-up concepts including Kushi by Reif at the Depachika Food Hall at Nakheel Mall, Palm Jumeirah, and Reif at Time Out Market in Souk Al Bahar.

This year, Othman will expand his Reif Japanese Kushiyaki beyond the UAE, with franchises set to open in Cairo and Riyadh.

To celebrate the golden visa recognition, Othman’s restaurant at Dubai’s Dar Wasl mall is offering all diners a free golden dessert from Sunday to Saturday, June 20 to 26.

The complimentary dessert, a green tea creme brulee with gingered mango and creamy chocolate topped with edible gold leaf, will be available for all lunch and dinner guests.

Othman and his wife Jasmine, who heads the front-of-house operations at the restaurant, join another UAE culinary star, chef Izu Ani, who was awarded the golden visa in April.

Ani, who began his career in London and then lived in France for six years, relocated to Dubai in 2010 to join the award-winning La Petite Maison (now LPM Dubai). He then moved to La Serre before launching YSeventy7, his own creative consulting and management agency, specialising in the food and beverage industry.

Through the agency, he's launched many popular dining concepts in the region, including Carine, The Lighthouse, Izu Brasserie & Bakery and Gaia.

"To me, Dubai is not a transient place, it is somewhere that we can call home, rather than just pass through. It is a destination that allows us to grow," the Nigerian-born, London-raised chef said when the recognition was announced.

“When we invest in ourselves, in our passions and projects, we plant the seeds of development. Dubai enables us to see the world with the eyes of a child, to explore and build our dreams into our realities, and for that I will always be grateful.”