Dubai chef hopes to open restaurant with his share of Abu Dhabi lottery prize

Rafeek Mohammed, 26, says he will also help some workers here and pay off his loans

Rafeek Mohammed bought the winning ticket with nine friends. Photo: Rafeek Mohammed
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A private chef in Dubai who has dreams of opening his own restaurant has won a share of a Dh1 million prize from Abu Dhabi’s Big Ticket draw.

Rafeek Mohammed, a 26-year-old from India, was the latest winner of the draw. He will share the prize equally with nine other people who purchased the Dh500 ticket with him.

With his share of the money, Mr Mohammed plans to pay off his debts, help the needy and explore the possibility of opening his own restaurant in the UAE.

I would be able to take better care of my parents now
Rafeek Mohammed, 26

For the past year, he has been working as a private chef for an Emirati family in Dubai. Before that, he worked as a cook for a hotel for five years.

“I couldn’t believe it when they called to tell me. I thought they were joking. I’m very happy about it because this money will help me a lot,” Mr Mohammed said.

“I’m going to pay off the loan I took from my friend for my sister’s wedding, I will help some workers here and I will look at opening my own restaurant.

“I’ve always loved cooking. I really enjoy it and it’s what I want to do, but I’ve always dreamed of opening my own restaurant and have even more people try my food.”

Mr Mohammed can cook everything, from Indian and Indo-Chinese dishes to Emirati cuisine.

He said he also supports his parents and wants to give them a more comfortable lifestyle.

“I would be able to take better care of my parents now,” he said.

The Abu Dhabi Big Ticket draw began in 1992 and is the UAE’s longest-running lottery. It offers cash prizes and luxury cars.

Many people have become millionaires overnight through the draw.

Earlier this year, Indian taxi driver Renjith Somarajan won Dh20m in the same draw.

He split the funds equally with nine of his friends who purchased the ticket with him.

“I was earning about Dh5,000 as a taxi driver for eight years. Then the salary was reduced when I started another job. It was always difficult to meet all of our needs, but now things will get better,” he said at the time.

Although many people buy the ticket with their friends, some who purchase it on their own have also hit the jackpot.

Shivamurthy Gali Krishnappa, a mechanical engineer for a stainless steel production company, won Dh12m from a ticket he bought on his own.

“I want to continue life as it was for now and plan properly. The most important thing is to save for my children’s education,” he said.

Updated: December 18, 2021, 10:51 AM