DiningMaking Dubai a dining destination

Our Chief Culinary Officer reveals his ambition to turn Dubai into a must-visit gastronomic destination

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Under the guidance of our first Chief Culinary Officer, global gastronomy expert Michael Ellis, Jumeirah’s hotels are set to become dining destinations in their own right.

Ellis, the former head of Michelin Guides and its prestigious restaurant awards, wants to raise the bar for Jumeirah’s restaurant offering, to create exceptional gastronomic destinations that aficionados will fly across the world to experience. 

Chief Culinary Officer Michael-Ellis Murrindie

 

‘People come to Dubai for many things: the guaranteed sun, the accessibility, and its safety’, explains Ellis. ‘But as far as I know not a single one of them comes to eat in a specific restaurant. In Paris, London, New York, Hong Kong, Singapore, Rio or Tokyo, people will visit just to dine at a restaurant.’

Ellis plans to change that in Dubai. ‘We want people to come to Dubai solely for a specific restaurant, and the way to do that is to have the chefs that are able to create entirely unique food.’ 

His recent hiring of two Michelin-starred chefs is part of that plan. Francky Semblat and Kim Joinie-Maurin have taken the lead at restaurants in Burj Al Arab – Al Muntah and Skyview respectively. For Ellis their appointments are key: ‘They were both running restaurants that were destination restaurants, and they’re both working to create that here.’

Ellis is excited about the potential. ‘It takes a chef years to develop with their teams and their suppliers, and years to develop a destination dish, so I’m very impressed with what they’ve been able to do already. All three chefs already have a tasting menu of six or seven courses.’

Jumeirah Chefs in the kitchen_16-9

 

In the quest for elevated dining, Ellis is wary of restaurants that are too high-concept or quirky. ‘There’s a fine line between something that’s a gimmick and something that’s really cool. If I see a chef using dry ice, I think, “Come on, what am I, 12 years old?” It’s ridiculous.’

Jumeirah Scape restaurant meal_16-9

 

Diners at Burj Al Arab in particular are looking for an extraordinary but refined experience, he insists. ‘When people come to Burj Al Arab, they don’t want gimmicks but they do want to remember this for a long time, and that’s what we’re starting to develop.’

And it’s not just the food that has to stand out. For Ellis a combination of elements is vital for success. ‘You have to have a great look and feel, great vibe, great music, lighting and superb staff. It’s got to feel fun, with a buzz and cool, great people. You have to have the whole package. If you don’t do that, you can have the best food in Dubai and fail miserably.’

‘When you go to a destination restaurant it should tell a story. If you look at a lot of the Michelin three-star restaurants that’s exactly what happens there. I’ve been to almost all of them and often it’s like being in another universe. They are magical places, and experiences you never forget.’

Jumeirah Burj Al Arab Scape Restaurant exterior_16-9