A new vision for gastronomy at Jumeirah

How global culinary expert Michael Ellis plans to transform the dining experiences in our hotels


A new vision for gastronomy at Jumeirah

How global culinary expert Michael Ellis plans to transform the dining experiences in our hotels

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At Jumeirah hotels, our restaurants, lounges and bars are undergoing a revolution. From ingredients to service, each element is being assessed and finessed to make every dining experience truly memorable. Leading this transformation is our Chief Culinary Officer, Michael Ellis.

It would be hard to imagine a candidate more suited to this prestigious and important role. Before he joined Jumeirah, Ellis spent seven years as global head of the Michelin Guides, running the inspection teams that award the renowned culinary Michelin stars. 

‘In this role I was able to have a view of what was going on in the 20 countries where the Michelin Guides are published - and view some 1,500 restaurants over a seven-year-period,’ he explains. ‘It was also a chance to see some of the world’s greatest culinary talent in person, which was incredible.’

A trained chef, who has worked in gastronomy and hospitality all over the world, Ellis brings a wealth of experience - and an impressive contacts book - to his new role at Jumeirah. On the invitation of our CEO, Jose Silva, he joined the team last October, to oversee a number of changes, starting at the very core of the luxury hotel dining experience.

‘Right now I’m working on the basics of what’s on the plate, and developing five signature dishes in each restaurant with the chefs and their teams. We're also making sure the other dishes are of a very high standard.’ 

This approach is also being extended to what Ellis has named 'Amazing Basics', in other food and drink outlets, including room service, all-day dining and lobby lunches. ‘Wherever you are in the world, there’ll always be a fantastic cheeseburger, club sandwich, chicken Caesar salad, spaghetti Bolognese or salad Niçoise. The club sandwiches we have here will be so good that any others will pale in comparison.’ 

Breakfasts are also important, and the vision is to perfect the perfect start to a Jumeirah day. ‘We have one of the great residence breakfasts already; when people come to eat in the morning they’re amazed at how good they are,’ notes Ellis.

However, making these changes is as challenging as it is exciting, mainly because each Jumeirah hotel is so different. ‘When you go to Jumeirah Beach Hotel it’s unique - or the Burj Al Arab, or Jumeirah Al Naseem…’

‘We can truly say that Jumeirah delivers you a special experience,’ he explains. ‘The one thing we want all our hotels to have is service beyond expectation, a superb food and beverage experience, and a great look and feel.’

And as each hotel is different, so is each guest. Each restaurant has to cater to four types of diner: hotel guests, guests from other hotels, local expats and Emiratis. It’s a challenge Ellis has taken on with enthusiasm. ‘We can’t be all things to all people, but we have to try from a food point of view.’

In a few short months, his vision for Jumeirah is already making itself felt. He’s made many changes, starting in our Dubai hotels, evolving menus, upgrading kitchens,  redesigning dining spaces, moving successful restaurants to new locations, shuttering underperforming ones, developing training for staff, and bringing in new talent. 

This talent roster includes three Michelin-starred chefs who are now at signature restaurants at our Burj Al Arab flagship hotel. 

Michael Ellis’ ultimate aim is to create restaurants that guests want to go to because there’s a buzz, not because they’re conveniently located within the hotel; something he admits is an ambitious programme.

However, the work is paying off and he notes with both satisfaction and determination, ‘We’re getting traction, things are happening - we’re putting exceptional dining at the heart of Jumeirah and ensuring it’s a key differentiator of the brand.”