As Dubai's gastronomic world continues to expand, a growing number of world-famous chefs are setting-up shop in the emirate. From Gordon Ramsay to Jason Atherton, Vision looks at some of the best ventures that have made it to this emerging culinary hub
The Michelin Guide is something of a bible for foodies everywhere. Restaurants carrying the star -- akin to a badge of honour or a culinary crown -- are among the world’s most popular venues, so it’s no surprise that Dubai is teeming with them.
As the emirate’s gastronomic world continues to expand, more and more world-renowned chefs are setting-up shop in Dubai. Here is a list of some of the chefs’ top ventures.
Gordon Ramsay’s Bread Street Kitchen
Back in the U.K., and indeed across much of the world, Gordon Ramsay has become a household name. Ramsay’s restaurants currently carry nine Michelin stars globally, having garnered 16 in total, and his TV shows, which include the wildly popular Hell’s Kitchen, are known far and wide. The temperamental celebrity was ranked among the world’s wealthiest celebrities globally in 2015. And with a net worth of about $118 million, Ramsay is the third-richest chef in the world, after Alan Wong and Jamie Oliver. Ramsay operated Verre in Dubai (also known as Gordon Ramsay at the Hilton Dubai Creek) for a decade, before shutting shop in 2011. Late last year, he returned to the emirate with Bread Street Kitchen, a modern European restaurant at Atlantis, the Palm Jumeirah.
Jason Atherton’s Marina Social
Second on the list is 44 year-old Atherton, who was incidentally trained by Ramsay himself at the Verre in Dubai. Located in the InterContinental Dubai Marina, his restaurant, Marina Social, describes itself as a celebrator of “de-formalised dining,” offering a “contemporary” British-Mediterranean menu. The restaurant’s “open kitchen” allows for interaction between its guests and the chef, making for a unique ambiance. On the menu? Duck leg agnolotti, white onion puree, pecorino and cooking juices, and for dessert, how about a cinnamon doughnut? The author of Gourmet Food for a Fiver earned a Michelin-star in 2011 for his London restaurant, Pollen Street Social.
The Galvin Brothers’ Pub and Two Restaurants
Early this year, Galvin brothers Jeff and Chris will be opening two restaurants and a pub in the emirate, according to their website. If history is anything to go by, the restaurants will be well-received. Chris, the older of the two, earned a Michelin star for his work at Orrery in Marylebone, London, which specialises in French cuisine. The brothers started their culinary career together, working at a small neighbourhood restaurant in London in which Chris washed dishes. His prolific career has since spanned 30 years. The Galvin brothers currently operate a number of restaurants across the U.K. and Scotland, including Bistrot de Luxe on Baker Street.
Tom Aikens’ Pots, Pans and Boards
And here we have yet another British chef bringing his culinary expertise to Dubai. Perhaps most striking about Aikens, though, is the fact that 10 years ago --- at the age of just 26 -- he earned his first Michelin star, making him the youngest chef to be awarded the honour, ever. It’s been a busy few months for Aikens: he’s set to open a new flagship restaurant in London in Spring of this year, and in late 2015, he opened Pots, Pans and Boards in Dubai. The restaurant adds to Tom’s Kitchen in London, which has four branches, as well as Aikens’ international presence in Istanbul and Hong Kong. What’s so special about PP&B, besides its name, then? Its communal style: in various interviews, Aikens has said he wanted “a family-style serviced restaurant.” On the menu: hearty British and Mediterranean cuisine.
Darren Velvick’s The Croft
Formerly of Dubai’s notorious Table 9, Velvick has transitioned into casual versus fine dining, opening The Croft in Dubai Marina late last year. The venue, which offers both a restaurant and a terrace, is inspired by Velvick’s childhood and upbringing in a traditional English village, according to his website. That means most of its produce is sourced locally and organically. On the menu at the Croft: everything from traditional Fish and Chips to Beef Tongue and Organic Chicken. Also trained by Ramsay, the 41-year old said in an interview with the National newspaper in August that he has “guests who invite [him] round to their houses for barbecues. Diners become your friends here. They’re not guests.” Talk about humble.
Virgilio Martinez’s Lima
Peruvian chef Martinez’s London restaurant, Lima, was met with such success (it’s frequently been featured on “world’s best restaurants” lists) that he’s decided to replicate the concept for Dubai early this year, according to the AFP. Dubai chefs had better watch out -- his flagship restaurant, Central Resteraunte, has been named Latin America’s top venue for food. But it’s Lima that earned him the Michelin star back in 2014. Martinez has helped bring Peruvian cuisine to the world’s attention, and has been referred to in the press as the Latin American gastronomic community’s poster boy.
Greg Malouf’s Cle Dubai
Cle Dubai doesn’t just offer fine Middle Eastern cuisine, it does so with sweeping views of Downtown Dubai, and the world’s tallest tower -- Burj Khalifa. Located in the bustling Dubai International Financial Centre, the restaurant was opened by Michelin-starred Australian celebrity chef Malouf. So notorious is the quality of Malouf’s food, celebrities including Paris Hilton, Akon and Khloe Kardashian were at the restaurant’s opening.
Gary Rhodes’ Rhodes W1
Rhodes, a restaurateur specialising in British cuisine who also owns a cookware line, was awarded a Michelin star for a restaurant in Mayfair, London, in 1996. Like Ramsay, Rhodes is also something of a TV celebrity in the UK; he frequently appears on television shows including ITV’s Saturday Cooks. Of all the chefs included on this list, Rhodes operates the most venues in the United Arab Emirates: Rhodes W1 at Grosvenor House in Dubai, Rhodes Twenty10 at Le Royal Meridien Beach Resort & Spa, also in the emirate, and Rhodes 44 at St. Regis Abu Dhabi.
Pierre Gagnaire’s Reflets par Pierre Gagnaire
French Chef Gagnaire is considered something of a renegade in the Franco-foodsphere. Breaking with culinary convention, his spin on French cuisine is characterised by a confluence of unexpected flavours. His eponymous string of restaurants has earned him three Michelin stars and he’s gone global, taking his talents to the U.S., where he operates Twist in Las Vegas. His restaurant in Dubai, located in The Intercontinental, Festival City, is among the French favourites of the city, and was awarded Dubai Restaurant of the Year in 2013 by Time Out.
Yannick Alleno’s Stay
Alleno, also French, operates three restaurants in Paris and three globally -- in Dubai, Taipei and Beijing. Ledoyen, on the Champs Elysees, won three Michelin stars in 2015, despite some controversy surrounding Alleno. Stay, located in the One & Only Royal Mirage, is at the higher end of the fancy range -- it requires a dress code, and children under nine aren’t allowed in. What’s on the menu? Think fusion: Zucchini with Zaatar, Carrot Harissa, Tahini and Rice Crackers.